Hungry for a taste of higher ed?

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Have you ever wanted to take some college classes, but thought it was impractical?

In this week's post, I want to share COURSERA with you!

If you haven't heard of it, Coursera is an organization offering hundreds of FREE online courses in a huge variety of disciplines, taught by some of the great contemporary teachers from leading universities and institutions around the world.

Yes, FREE higher-ed classes that you can pursue at your own leisure and in your pajamas! I like the sound of that!

These courses, also known as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are the brainchild of Stanford University computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller and have steadily gained popularity since their emergence in 2011.

They have also, not surprisingly, been the topic of much debate -- with critics claiming that they will put professors out of jobs, users reporting that their quality is highly variable, and venture capitalists trying to figure out how they can keep MOOCs free to students and still make a profit.

But all I can tell you for sure is that my own experience with Coursera has been very positive.

I'm currently enrolled in Coursera's Songwriting class taught by Pat Pattison, a longtime professor at Berklee College of Music. After reading his book Songwriting Without Boundaries, and attending his fantastic lecture on lyrics at Taxi's Road Rally last Fall, Pat was someone I knew I would want to study with if I had lots of money and could zip off to Boston a few times a week!

Thanks to Coursera, I now have access to 40+ video lectures by this entertaining and insightful songwriting pro, plus six weeks of structured lesson plans, online quizzes, and homework assignments and the camaraderie of thousands of students in dozens of countries, all for the price of my time. And yes, I do all the coursework in my pj's, in bed!

So, if you occasionally feel the call, like me, to bone up on best practices in your field, or pursue instruction in a field you've only dreamed of, check out the Coursera website or any of the other big MOOC providers such as Udacity, edX, or iTunesU. You might just get inspired!

Until next time, wishing you well,

Deanna

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