Teach me, and make me work for it.

Remember the rush of excitement when looking at the new course catalogue back in university? I’ve got that. There are a few things as energizing as browsing established domains of knowledge that I didn’t even know existed. Even better is assembling them in unlikely course combinations to make a one-of-a-kind curriculum. 

For the past few years since graduating school I have constantly tried to get my hands on course catalogues and audit classes. It was easier when my younger siblings were still in school, helping me keep my internal calendar in sync with school year. But even then I didn’t manage to audit more than a handful of lectures. It was harder than I had imagined to internalize new knowledge. Contrary to what I thought, not having homework made it more challenging to stay engaged. I needed something tangible to confirm I am understanding and mastering new knowledge.

Enter Coursera: free, interactive, peer reviewed, university level learning. It sounds too good to be true, but it is really here. Coursera is filling the “mastery of knowledge” gap that iTunes University was not. By leveraging other student in the same course as your T.A., Coursera is able to test your knowledge and even give you a signed certificate from the instructor. And we are talking Berklee, Princeton, John Hopkins, Duke, Columbia, UBC, and UofT, just to name a few.

Now to celebrate this amazing resource I present you with a list of courses I find interesting. I’ll be taking at least one course in March of this year. You might want to sign up too. Who knows, you might end up grading my tests.

Model Thinking, University of Michigan

Introduction to Systematic Program Design, UBC, **The textbook for this course has been highly recommended to me before by the superhuman Zack Aysan, http://htdp.org/

A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behaviour, Duke University, Check out the colourful instructor Dan Ariely

The Camera Never Lies, University of London International Program

The Fiction of Relationship, Brown University

Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society, University of Pennsylvania

Metadata: Organizing and Discovering Information, U of North Carolina

Design Thinking for Business Innovation, University of Virginia, From author of Designing for Growth

A Brief History of Humankind, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Community Change in Public Health, John Hopkins University

Introduction to Improvisation, Berklee College