Coursera: education for everyone

Registering and taking college courses online is not necessarily a new concept with the likes of University of Phoenix available.  However, circumstances can arise where having the opportunity to take online courses is ideal and necessary, such as having a full-time job or living in a different city.  Additionally, some online courses hold a bit of a negative connotation with regards to their credibility.

In an effort to counteract said perception of taking online courses, two professors created the online platform, Coursera.  Coursera is simply, “education for everyone.”  Founded in 2012 by Stanford Professors of Computer Science, Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, Coursera offers a wide range of courses from the top universities in the country as a resource of education for millions of people through a utilization of technology.

Daphne Koller, Co-founder of Coursera

Each course is different; however, the structure remains universal with the ability to watch lectures given by world-class professors, participate in interactive exercises, test your knowledge, and learn at your own pace.  All of this is supplemented with a global community of student interaction.  Coursera provides certificates upon completion of each course with the benefit of enriching your resume on a variety of topics and interest platforms.  Visit the website for a list of available and upcoming course topics.  Enrolling is as easy as clicking a button!

Beginning in January, I have personally enrolled in a number of courses to try out the benefits and structure of Coursera.  Among my anticipated topics are: Introduction to Genetics and Evolution (taught by Professor Mohamed Noor of Duke University), Introduction to Sustainability (taught by Professor Jonathan Tomkin of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign), An Introduction to the U.S. Food System: Perspectives from Public Health (taught by Professors Robert S. Lawrence and Keeve Nachman of John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health), and E-learning and Digital Cultures (taught by a team of instructors).

In my opinion, the anticipation of getting back into the enrichment of learning and mind expansion without the cost of continuing education is an immense benefit behind the possibilities Coursera offers.

You can also watch Koller’s TED talk on Coursera and its goals, origination, and general story.

What courses would you be interested in taking online?

Photo credit: Dawn Endico

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