Sunday, 8 March 2015


I never thought I’d hear myself say that.  I only learned the term MOOC last month.  (It stands for Massive Open Online Course in case you are as ignorant as I was up till a couple of weeks ago.)  What happened is that I did a course last year, through the U3A, called Introduction to Astrology.  I really enjoyed the course (knowing nothing about the subject) and wanted to learn more – so looked online.  There I came across Coursera, and the rest, as they say is history.  I didn’t actually do the Astronomy course, though I do plan to in the future, as my life was too busy with house alterations and then a family visit (part of the reason for the house alteration).

I am just finishing my first course, Introduction to Genetics and Evolution.  It’s a Coursera course (when I found out about MOOCs I also found out about other MOOC providers though Coursera is the largest), taught by an amazing professor from Duke University, Professor Noor.  He’s an inspired teacher, teaching with zest and humour and so much enthusiasm for his subject it rubs off on all his students.  I have loved every minute of it, finding  the course interesting as well as challenging – last time I did any biology I was 14 so it was quite a steep learning curve for me.  Each week there is a set of videos to download  and watch (multiple times in some cases for me) then once a week a problem set to do online.  Two exams, one mid-term and a final, which I hope to do next weekend.    I love having a deadline to work to – it’s only with a deadline that I accomplish anything.  I think that’s a sign of natural laziness J   Then next week my next course starts – Forensic Psychology by the Open University, though the MOOC provider is Future Learn, then in June another Coursera course, Animal Behaviour though Melbourne University then in September I’m doing a course in American contemporary poetry.  Might tuck in a few others in between.   Can barely remember what I did before I started this!   And I only started in January this year!
These MOOCs should come with a health warning – seriously addictive!
Till next time J

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