Well, I suspect that people just don't like to do homework in general. But anyways, tonight I'm blogging about this really awesome site called, Coursera. See, the reason its so neat is that you can take free, online, college level courses through actual colleges and taught by real professors.
It has over a hundred classes in pretty much every subject (there's even a class where you can play a video game for assignments!). Some of them require a bit of background knowledge, but most of them are just for people who are curious about the subject. Some also have suggested materials that you could view before or during the course that will help with the course, but most of all the materials are provided for free.
One of the nice things I like about it too is that you're not required to complete a class. So if it turns out to be too difficult or if you're just not interested in the subject, you can drop it at any time and it doesn't affect you. But say you don't pass the class, you are allowed to retake it too.
Some of the classes even give you certificates for completing the class (note that you don't get any actual college credit for them unless maybe you're a student at that particular university and your professor gives you some).
Also, most of the classes are taught in lectures and the assignments are peer reviewed. Why peer reviewed? Well because there's so many people taking the course (I think the history course I'm taking has over 83,000 people taking it?) that there's no way just the professor and maybe his assistants could review them all alongside their regular classes.
Keep in mind, that you don't have to do the assignments. I joined my history class really late and because there's so many lectures and they're usually long (anywhere from five to nineteen minutes long), I'm just watching the videos and participating in the discussion forums.
So far, most of my classes aren't too bad but its watching the lectures that take the longest. Some classes also have quizzes and tests too, but the ones I've taken haven't been very hard. Most of the assignments I've gotten are given a week's time to complete them and then a couple days to review some of my classmates' assignments.
Most classes I think has discussion forums where you can talk to your classmates and ask questions. Normally, I don't think the teacher answers questions himself (unless there's a lot of students asking the same one or you brought up something important) but I've seen teacher assistants answer them and most of the students are pretty knowledgeable so I haven't had much trouble yet.
Classes I'm taking (or planning too):
- Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, our Modern World
- A History of the World since 1300
- Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society
- Think Again: How to Reason and Argue
- Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning
- The Social Contest of Mental Health and Illness
- E-learning and Digital Cultures
- Introduction to Philosophy
- Introduction to Sociology
- Property and Liability: An Introduction to Law and Economics
- A Beginner's Guide to Irrational Behavior
- Why We Need Psychology
- Archaeology's Dirty Little Secrets
- The Camera Never Lies
- Creative Programming for Digital Media & Mobile Apps
- English Common Law: An Introduction
- Online Games: Literature, New Media, and Narrative
- Social Psychology
- Listening to World Music
- Animal Behavior
- Basic Behavioral Neurology
Eh, I know that's a lot, (I just counted and there's twenty-two on that list so far) but that's the thing I really like about Coursera. I can enroll in any class and drop it later if I want to. But besides that, there's so many courses on so many different subjects that its really nice. See, it lets me learn and explore subjects no offered by my school.
And if I take a class and find out I'm not good at it or I don't like it, I won't have to pay or anything if I drop it. I can take science and math classes (neither of which I'm good at) and learn a little more in those areas if I like. I can take classes in subjects I'm not normally interested in and see if I like them or not.
So while I'm taking a lot (and I expect I won't finish them all or even start some of them!), I think its okay. Personally, I love learning (eh, I hate homework depending on what it is) and I think this is a great opportunity for me to learn even more before I head off to college (where I'll learn even more and things will be more stressful).
But that's the other thing, these are college-level courses so when I go off to college, I think I'll have a better understanding of how hard or easy they'll be (granted though, these are online courses though and I don't expect to do actual college online).
See, I think that this site is a great idea. Because some people really can't afford to actually go to college and this might give them a chance to learn more. Plus, I think there's a lot of people (especially in my generation) who only seem to learn things if they have to or only about things they're interested in (which is natural). So, I guess, this is a way for people to take advantage and learn new things.
Personally, I think education is very important. And I think that people should take advantage of every opportunity out there for them to grow as a person. We have education for a reason and while school is boring and stressful, fun and maybe exciting (at least in social terms more often then naught), we should be grateful that we actually can get a somewhat decent education.
It reminds me of that Pakistani girl who was recently shot for standing up for education for girls. I think that's a great cause and I applaud her for standing up for something so important. I think she's very brave for trying to get a higher education in a society where many girls may not go beyond the basic level.
So anyway's, there's my spiel tonight. If you want more information, I guess you can go to the FAQ page, here (which is actually kinda hard to find). That or join and sign up for a class and see what its like. I recommend it, some of them are really fun and interesting.