Lately I’ve been working on a course through a site called coursera.org. In case you don’t know what that site is, its a website that allows universities to provide courses free of charge online. I’ve been working on the English Commonlaw course provided by the University of London.
Its actually pretty interesting and the student chats which take place over social networks are, to my surprise, are intellectually stimulating. The professors in charge of this course have done a spectacular job on designing and teaching the course. This course has changed my opinion on online courses a little bit, I feel if every online course was done this way it would work pretty well. The last course I tried through Coursera was a Principle of Microeconomics course through University of Pennsylvania and was definitely not to the same caliber. I found it really hard to keep up with it because there was a lot of course work to do and had a strict deadline. The English Commonlaw course instead has pretty light course work, but focuses more on discussion and the course work is optional which makes it easier to keep up with because you aren’t stressed out by deadlines.
I’m still not completely sold on online courses, mostly because its so much harder to interact with classmates and meet people, which I think is one of the bigger benefits of doing post secondary school. The degree, diploma or certificate you get from post secondary education is secondary to the people you meet and the intellectual stimulation you get. But, the professors at the English Commonlaw course have done a great job at getting people to interact with each other online. So there might be a future for online courses after all.