I’ve just signed up for a course from the University of Virginia in the US that’s facilitated and conducted online by a social entrepreneurship company that partners with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free. The company is called Coursera and their aim is to create a future where the top universities are educating not only thousands of students, but millions.
The course I’ve chosen to undertake is called, “How Things Work 1″ and it’s described as being;
Designed for non-science students, this course is a practical introduction to physics and science in everyday life. It considers objects from the world around us, identifying and exploring the scientific concepts upon which they’re based. Because it starts with objects and looks within them for science, it is the reverse of a traditional physics class. The emphasis of this semester is on mechanical objects, objects that involve fluids, objects that involve heat, and resonant objects.
I was heartened to discover that the course instructor, Louis A. Bloomfield, was a tinkerer as a child because I was just the same. I also was one of those children who loved to pull things apart to find out how they worked and try to get them back together again, and yes, I also suffered many an electrical shock and caused many a stain on the polished timber floors of my bedroom from spillages caused by odd experiments. So… this course could be perfectly tailored for me. It doesn’t begin until January 14 next year, so I’ll be chomping at the bit for a couple of months waiting to get on with it.
What a great concept Coursera have come up with, free university courses. It means that students who otherwise may not have the opportunity to attend a decent university, or in fact any university at all, will now have the chance to learn from some of the very best.
The founder of MultiUni here in Viet Nam, Huy Zing, is now a software developer at Coursera and he’ll be talking at RMIT University next Monday night.