Daniel Norton

an experiment in occasional usefulness


I am a huge fan of the MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) movement, particularly Coursera. Coursera’s mission statement says:

Coursera is an education company that partners with the top universities and organizations in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free. Our technology enables our partners to teach millions of students rather than hundreds.

They host hundreds of free courses across many disciplines with an emphasis on technology and computer programming. It’s a treasure trove for working software people like me.

And like a kid with far too much Halloween candy, I gorged myself. Here are the courses that I have signed up for this year:

I have completed exactly NONE of these courses, and that’s the problem. Because they are free and very thorough, and the penalty for not completing the class so low, I haven’t made the effort needed to invest fully in any of the classes. I always let life and work priorities supercede time I should be spending catching up on discrete mathematics or working on programming assignments.

I do think that taking the classes even if I don’t finish is a positive thing. I am constantly learning skills and gaining knowledge that have a direct bearing on my career. But I’m not getting the full benefit that I would receive by fully participating and completing the class.

So, I’m going to take some steps to change that. Perhaps it means involving myself in an online study group. Or I could take some initiative and organize a local in-person study here in Charlotte. The first step will be finding people who want to participate.

So if you are interested in taking a Coursera course and feel the same disappointment with never completing a class, reach out to me. I’m going to start an informal group.