Teach me about dinosaurs, Alberta


It is the eve of the start of my first MOOC, or Massive Open Online Course. Having only discovered the existence of this FREE! distance education a few days ago, I’m now enrolled in no less than four courses with no less than three platforms (Coursera, FutureLearn and Open2Study), and already eyeing off my fifth.

Why do a MOOC? Aside from it being a really fun acronym, most MOOCS offer Statements of Accomplishment, which can be included in your CV or LinkedIn profile, boosting your credentials and showing your passion for a subject. Certain courses also offer verified certificates, in which a third party proves it’s really you at each assessment stage and awards you some fancy paperwork at the end (for a fee). Plus, it offers you the opportunity to connect and interact with other like-minded individuals from all over the globe. And did I mention it’s free? (I know it sounds like I’m being paid to write this, but I’m just really excited about it all). If you’re itching to flex your study bone but don’t have the time/money/patience to commit to a full degree, a MOOC could be the ideal solution – take it from a two-time University dropout.

My current courses:

Dino 101: Introduction to Paleobiology – University of Alberta on Coursera – commences Jan 6 (12 weeks)
Workload: 3-5 hrs/week for non-credit | Course structure: The class will consist of lecture videos, which are 1-2 minutes in length, interposed with integrated quiz questions in addition to a unit test after each of the 12 lessons. 

♦ Climate Change: Challenges and Solutions – University of Exeter on Futurelearn – commences January 13 (8 weeks)
Workload: 3 hrs/week | Course structure: https://www.futurelearn.com/about/how-it-works 

♦ Writing for the Web – Open2study – commences January 13 (4 weeks)
Workload: 2 – 4 hours of study per week, but can vary depending on the student | Course structure: Watching videos, and taking quizzes and assessments.

♦ Marine Megafauna: An Introduction to Marine Science and Conservation – Duke on Coursera – commences February 3 (8 weeks)
Workload: 6-8 hrs/week | Course structure: The class will consist of a series of lecture videos that are between 8 and 20 minutes in length. These videos contain several integrated, ungraded quiz questions per video. Students are required to read and understand several research article per week, and the complexities of these articles will be discussed in online discussion fora. There will also be standalone homework sets, including working with datasets derived from real scientific research.

Stay tuned for more – I’ll be sharing some of my learnings and reviewing the above courses in the following weeks!

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P.S. I think this will be my fifth: What a Plant Knows (Tel Aviv University on Coursera) – but luckily this one doesn’t start until October. Phew! #addictedtoacademia


2 thoughts on “Teach me about dinosaurs, Alberta

  1. Online courses are the best! I enrolled in three with Open2Study at various times last year (Basic Physics, Becoming a Confident Trainer, and Principles of Project Management), and while I didn’t finish any of them (oops), I really enjoyed learning about topics that I wouldn’t have otherwise known much about. Have a great time learning about dinos, climate, and writing for the web!

    • Thanks Emily! The Dino one is terrific so far, and I’m having a ball interacting with students of all ages from across the globe. I’m also one of two admins on the facebook study group – so I have no excuse not to complete this course at least! haha

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