20 March 2013

Free Learning!

Statement of Accomplishment
For learning-junkies - like me - Coursera allows you to search for, enrol and take part in interesting and varied courses, offered by legitimate universities - for free!

I have written before about taking control of our own learning; whilst I am lucky enough to be in a school that values Professional Learning highly, that funds PL and devotes one afternoon session a week to helping staff learn, not everyone is so lucky. However, as explored in Kristen Swanson's book, 'Professional Learning in a Digital Age', the advent of technology and the Internet, means our learning can be 'user-generated' - we take control. Organisations such as Venture Lab and Coursera make this even easier.

This year online, for free, I have taken part in the following online courses:-

  • Designing a New Learning Environment (via Stanford University, through Venture Lab)
  • E-Learning and Digital Cultures (via The University of Edinburgh)

I am also signed up to show interest in taking the following courses over the remainder of the year:-
Subjects of courses offered

All who successfully complete the course requirements get a Statement of Accomplishment; there is even now a 'Signature Track', which, in select classes, allows you the opportunity to earn a Verified Certificate for completing your Coursera course. Signature Track securely links your coursework to your identity, allowing you to confidently show the world what you’ve achieved on Coursera. 

62 universities from across the globe are partnered with Coursera who offer courses in English, Spanish, French, Italian and Chinese across a huge range of subjects.

There is no excuse for not learning - time is what we make it and we have a duty to continue to develop as learners and educators. Model life-long learning in your classroom. Share with your learners what you are learning. Let them know you too are continuing to improve yourself. 

Lack of funding in your school for PL is no longer an excuse for lack of professional development and all employers should acknowledge this. You have the power. Take control, learn, develop - get your fix!