Thursday, March 21, 2013

Coursera is for everyone

More and more often people ask Zosia and us, the parents, where is she going to go to college.We've heard this question from our friends and family, from those who we've just met and those who have known us for a while, reporters and teachers also want to know the answer.
Most people assume that since I am a foreigner in Taiwan and Zosia is fluent in English and Polish we are going to send her abroad to study. To tell you the truth, I don't understand this connection.

First one needs to ask children weather they want to go to university at all. One needs to find out what are their interests and how can they deepen their knowledge in the area they are interested in. Is it possible for them to audit classes at a local university? Can they observe and experience the kind of work that they are interested in? Is it possible to sign up for on-line courses?

Nowadays it doesn't really matter where you are, you can take courses from the most prestigious universities taught by best professors, right from your bedroom or study. You can choose one of many university on-line courses and you don't need to wait until you finish high school! And that's what Zosia started doing this year.

In January she signed up for one of the Coursera courses offered by Wesleyan University. The course she chose was "The Language of Hollywood: Storytelling, Sound, and Color". She had to watch not only course videos, but also many old films. Throughout the course she had to answer many quiz questions and at the end of the course take another longer test. It was not easy. It took a lot of her time. It took more time than I thought it would. But ... she has enjoyed it a lot and has learned a lot. And ... she got hooked on Coursera.

Zosia has signed up for four more courses (they don't run at the same time). The one that she is taking now is about Ancient Greece. Who would have thought that my photography-media-film-loving girl is also interested in Ancient Greece! We did cover that part of history two years ago and obviously it has sparked an interest in her and she wanted to learn more about it.

While listening to the lectures Zosia is taking notes. Here you can see her notes for the Hollywood course:

 


   

 

 

 So please, next time that you meet us - don't ask us where is Zosia going to study, she has already started her "higher" education and if she receives a diploma from X or Y university or she doesn't receive one at all, doesn't really matter. What matters is that she will learn things that she likes and that are going to help her with her "career" in the future.

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