Taking Classes Again!

As I might have mentioned before, I’m insanely jealous of my friends who have continued their education. I know, being in Italy, working here, I’m certainly not hurting and I really have nothing to be jealous about, but I’ve always enjoyed being in the classroom. I loved going to class, even doing homework and writing papers, but after graduation, it seemed that the only way to continue doing that was to go through an arduous application process to pay oodles of money for a graduate program or, while working abroad, find some way to take classes on the cheap. Of course, the latter option is next to impossible since hardly any university is going to offer cheap courses. You’re lucky to find an art class that costs less than €500 for a four-week course. While it’s not terribly expensive, I don’t have that kind of money to be throwing around, not when I’m trying to save up to continue to that aforementioned graduate study.

However, I happened upon that wonderful website called Coursera. Initially I had been looking through the MOOC database (Massive Open Online Courses) in hopes of striking upon a couple of courses that looked interesting, but I was directed via link to Coursera and I immediately found the design of the site engaging. Make it pretty and I’ll probably stick around to look a little longer. After looking through the class listings, I decided that—since it was free—I could sign up and be a little more serious about pursuing some of these courses. Eventually I decided on two classes. No need to overwhelm myself, after all, given that I do have work to do and (no shame) I’m profoundly lazy in the morning. Hopefully this will change that.

Coursera offers classes from universities all over the world, and while you can pay to have formal specialization certificates, I’m just fine with taking the class and having a signed pdf proving that I did it. I chose “Live!: A History of Art for Artists, Animators and Gamers”, as offered by the California Institute of the Arts, and “The Science of Gastronomy” from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Two major loves of mine: art and cooking, yes please!!!

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I’m looking forward to both of these since it will be my first real experience with an interactive online course. I took one back at ASU and absolutely loathed it, given that it was entirely busywork and online tests with very little interaction between professor and student. These courses, however, rely heavily on discussion, video lecture content, and chat boards, basically a combination of Reddit/YouTube/Facebook, all of which I abuse on the daily. Given that I have to create my own content (keep a sketchbook for art and film cooking techniques for gastronomy), the amount of effort necessary on my part is something that I’ve been missing since graduation. While I enjoy going home and having nothing pressing to do for the following day, I work well under pressure and assignments never stressed me out when I actually had them. These classes also offer content that I’m passionate about, which should make it that much easier to do.

“Art for Artists” starts up in a few days so I’ll keep you guys posted on my progress. I’ll even post my sketches! I’ll probably put up my videos for “Gastronomy” too, but we’ll see. Let’s not push how proactive I can be. We saw how that worked out in November when I jinxed myself LOL

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