Day Two Hundred Ninety-four

Thinking about MOOCs While Walking

I walked around the neighborhood and up to the library today to pick up a book that I ordered for a new MOOC (massive open online course) that I am taking. This new course, through Coursera on historical fiction, might be a challenge for me, because I don’t consider myself “literary.” But the class is free, so I’ve got nothing to lose.

There’s been some debate about online courses and whether or not they’ll drastically change higher learning. I personally don’t think that they’ll replace traditional college, at least not for awhile. It’ll be interesting to watch though. For now, I plan to enjoy taking these classes with fellow “lifelong learners.”

I’ve actually taken a couple of other MOOCs. In fact, I’m finishing one this week on creativity, also through Coursera. This course, officially entitled “Creativity, Innovation, and Change” was taught by three Penn State professors of engineering. It was a two-track course promoting personal creative growth. I took what I’ll call the “easier” track, the one without a project.

I think anyone that’s taken one would agree that to get something out of these free online courses, you have to put something into them. I could have put more into the class than I did (there are numerous supplemental videos that I have not watched and articles that I have not read), and yet, I still got a lot out of it.

I learned to think of creativity differently:

  • Everyone is creative, but in different ways. This prompted me to see creativity in others and myself.
  • Everyone brings their own level of intelligence, experience, and structure to the creative process. Recognizing that others think through problems or make suggestions based on their past experiences has forced me to be more open to others’ ideas.

I learned to think about failure differently:

  • Failure, done correctly using minimal resources, can lead to future success. Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from trying something new; jump in, experiment, and learn from past mistakes.

I learned some great life advice:

  • Take charge of any creations or projects. Prioritize time, efforts, and money for things that matter to you.
  • Measure success. Set attainable goals; check them regularly.

And above all:

  • Be constantly creating and learning. Keep an Idea Journal. Read something new. Listen to new ideas.

Lifelong learning. . . nothing to lose.


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