It’s official – I’m in love with Coursera

I didn’t finish college.

Not only did I not finish college – when I left I vowed to myself that I would never go back and get a degree.

I know, it’s a bit extreme, but for me it wasn’t worth the punishment.

First off, in the two and a half years I attended college (one and a half of them at my local university, one at a local technical college), I can only recall one class that I really liked, a 400 level political science class on Constitutional Law.

I thought I’d like Psychology, but my Intro to Psychology class bored me out of my mind.

I decided on Computer Science as a major, but my C# class lost me half way through the semester. I probably could have caught up had I attended the labs, but the reality is I was just bored to death and had no context for the information I was supposed to be digesting.

Honestly, there are multiple reasons I quit; my own lack of discipline was certainly one of them. The fact that I wasn’t greatly inspired by any of my teachers or classes was another.

But lack of a desire for education was never one of them.

To be fair, my views have change a lot since I’ve left college. I’ve both

  • married a woman with an English Education degree who uses those skills to great benefit, and
  • met a mentor who, not having a degree, was the smartest and wisest man I could ever hope to meet.

So I’m not arguing for or against going to college here – it has it’s benefits and drawbacks.

But what I really want is to be able to deeply understand the topics that I’m passionate about. I don’t care too much about having a piece of paper on my wall, I just want to understand.

And with the proliferation of content available online, it is tempting to think one can just go and figure out anything on their own.

But it’s been my experience over the last ten years that while it’s true that “Where there is a will there is a way,” far too many people have figured out how to build perceived authority online when they don’t actually understand the fundamentals of the system they’re teaching.

That’s why, as of today, I’m in love with Coursera.

Coursera, in part of a larger industry move toward Massive Open Online Courses, is allowing people to access world-class education by industry-leading instructors at their own pace and without the constraints of the university model.

Today I took an entire course on Viral Marketing by a professor from The Wharton School. Next week I plan to start a specialization course on Positive Psychology by the former head of the American Psychological Association.

If any of you have actually had the patience to read through my boring lecture, I’m interested to hear your thoughts. What do you think about how Massive Open Online Courses are changing the educational landscape?

P.S. I had my wife proofread this article for me and she said it sounded like a little like an advertisement for Coursera. It’s not. I just I couldn’t be happier that they are helping filter out the junk and curating such quality content.

Join the email list to get notified of new posts.