About two months ago, I discovered Coursera through a Lifehacker U post about planning my free education for Summer 2013. I love learning new things and I wish I could stay in school for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, that doesn’t pay the bills. In fact, attending a college or university is extremely expensive. So I thought I’d try a class or two.
Or ten… Or twenty…
The first class I signed up for was “Online Games: Literature, New Media, and Narrative.” After clicking the sign up button, I started browsing the other classes that were going to start soon. At the time, the online games class had a start date of July, so I thought I’d try something else while I waited. The online games class now doesn’t start until the beginning of September and I’ve since signed up for 15 classes. They have start dates ranging from June 14th to October 21st.
I highly doubt that I will actually complete all these classes, but my thought is that it doesn’t cost me anything to sign up and see what the work load will be like. If i think it’s too much, I can drop the class with no penalty. Or I can just watch the lectures as if they’re TV shows. I won’t get a certificate of completion that way, but if my goal is simply to gain new knowledge, who cares?
So today I worked on the final week’s assignments for a class called, “Sustainability of Food Systems: A Global Life Cycle Perspective.” After this 8 week course, I now know a lot more about how food systems work throughout the world and I’m armed with information on how to adjust my lifestyle in order to try and make my dining choices more sustainable for the planet.
Did you know that at the current rate of population growth, we will need to double the amount of food we produce annually by 2050? According to studies, it’s only increasing by about 1% per year, while it needs to increase by 3% per year. That’s a frightening thought. 2050 seems like it’s a long time from now, but it’s not. Based on the average American female life expectancy, I should still be alive in 37 years. Food shortages and excessive food waste will only drive the costs of food higher. If you’re interested, I recommend checking out this article from Scientific American.
These courses are incredibly addicting for someone like me. I crave information like a junkie. A friend of mine recently told me about another site that is similar to Coursera called edX. I’m seriously eyeing up an introductory biology class taught by MIT.
Oh, speaking of MIT. Do you know about their OpenCourseWare website? It’s another great resource for learning junkies.
When I was a little girl, my parents had to hide flashlights and batteries because I would stay up all night reading books. Clearly this aspect of my personality hasn’t changed…