Sunday, February 16, 2014

Me and my MOOCs

Nope, not a typo. MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. I'm a lifelong learner, but I don't much like to drive to take classes. I have no need or wish to earn another degree.  I live in Arizona in the winter and I travel at other times of the year.  So MOOCs work for me. I just discovered them and so far I'm very glad. I take the classes for no credit and they are free.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say:

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings, and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive user fora that help build a community for students, professors, and teaching assistants (TAs). MOOCs are a recent development in distance education.

In the last three months I have taken the following four-week classes:

From Open2Study:
  • Foundations of Psychology
  • Chemistry - Building Blocks of the World
  • The Body as a Machine. 
  • Your Body in the World
  • Big Data for Better Performance
I am finishing up Your Body in the World today. Tomorrow I start two new classes: 
  • Negotiations and Conflict Resolution
  • The Art of Drawing and Painting
I have found the Open2Study courses to be at a comfortable level for me. I overscheduled myself, though, and got stressed out. Two classes at a time is better than five! 

From Coursera:
  • Social and Economic Networks. I dropped this class about halfway through. I learned a lot about the concepts but the math was too much for me. Even for no credit, no cost, matrix algebra and calculus are beyond me.
  • Introduction to Neuroscience. I dropped this one also about halfway through. Again, I learned a lot, but this one went into way more detail about chemical activitiy in the nervous system than I wanted to learn
When I take another offering from Coursera, I will take just one class. I want to learn about human physiology in more detail, but I know it will be time consuming. 

There are lots of websites offering MOOC courses, in a wide variety of subjects. A good place to start looking is

A woman in my water aerobics class writes for a magazine read by RVers. Yesterday she interviewed me about the classes I take via MOOC. They're a great activity for people on the move!


Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

That's such an exciting new development, isn't it? My husband and I are very interested in MOOC's and have taken some classes that way. That's great that you've been able to do that, even with your travels. What a wondrous age this is!

Linda Reeder said...

I guess after all of those years in school, my life long learning wants a less formal approach. But good for you!

Barb said...

ohhhhh the drawing class looks very interesting. I am loving taking the online classes, the only problem (if there is one) is I cannot keep up with the online chatting. I'm thinking of taking an mit courseware class, but it's all done "alone:

Rosaria Williams said...

What great opportunities are now available on line! My husband enjoys this type of learning; I like the real classes with interruptions and serendipitous moments.

Sally Wessely said...

I love that you do this. Like Rosaria, I like real live learning environments.

Arkansas Patti said...

Oooh, Oooh, you have struck a nerve with this learning junkie. Thank you and I will check it out. The price is sure right.

Olga said...

I have taken some online classes. Technology has opened up our world. I also participate with my VT writing groups via Skype or FaceTime which is good use of technology, but not as good as being there in person.

DJan said...

What a great idea! I had never heard of MOOCs before, but now I think it's time to check them out. Of course you are taking dozens of classes, Linda. You're insatiable! :-)

Madeline Kasian said...

I love to learn! Like your readers, I enjoy SOME hands on experiences- out the in the world learning -- (don't we ALL!??) but I love taking classes as well. I want to take a music appreciation class (classical music) some art classes, a sociology class, maybe some world cultures or world religions classes.Are these free??

After many years of needing to get degrees for my work,It is blissful to just take classes for pure pleasure and learning.

My local community college also offers ALL THEIR CLASSES FREE to seniors over age 55 and I get a student ID which gives me discounts in various places too!! I don't always like driving, but we moved to a new town and I think in Spring taking a class will help us meet some new folks..

Loving retirement.. just got here about 3 weeks ago!!

Thanks for sharing !!!

Madeline Kasian said...

Linda,I just signed up for a music class on Coursera.. the site says it starts March 13.Will I have to watch it "Live" at a certain time or is the class simply available that day to view whenever I want? The site doesn't seem to explain how it works?

Linda Myers said...


The date listed is the FIRST day a class is available. You can watch any time after that.

Sasha + Saku said...

Thanks for sharing this information. Continual learning is a good way to keep the brain active. When my father suffered a brain bleed at the age of 92, the doctor attributed the fact his brain showed no evidence of atrophy to his lifelong learning. He taught himself to read French at the age of 60 with library books and a French/English dictionary.

Dee said...

Dear Linda, thanks for giving us the URL for the site. I'll go there and see what's being offered as I'm like you--I like to keep learning. That's something that keeps us young and interesting! Peace.

Unknown said...

I'm a freelance business writer doing a piece on MOOCS for Delta Sky magazine. Would love to include your experiences in story. Please call me (912-398-6737 or email at My deadline is Thursday. Thanks.
Mary Mayle