02 November 2016

I love learning

I love learning.
It makes me so happy. I love to improve myself, learn a new skill, get new knowledge, even if it means that I’ve been wrong before.

This is part of why I’ve loved participating in MOOCs. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) were an important part of my work in Lebanon. Each semester, we selected a MOOC on a topic that is relevant to our audiences and then publicized the course, invited participants to fill out an application for why they wanted to join, and recruited an alumni or other expert to facilitate a live discussion to enhance the online material.

It was great - we did topics like Journalism for Social Change, Entrepreneurship, American Government, and of course, several topics to enhance English language teaching. By combining the online content with an in-person discussion, we were able to achieve much higher rates of completion for the MOOC and serve our additional purpose of building a network of engaged Lebanese. It served several goals on our part - first of all, to build the skills of Lebanese people in these areas, and second to promote American universities. Because, of course, all of the courses we chose were created by American universities. It was a great opportunity to expose Lebanese to lesser-known public or small universities and colleges that they might not have considered previously.

But our audience was not just university students, it included many adults who were interested in working on their English skills and re-engaging with learning.

There is no reason we should not continue learning well after university.

Since I’ve been at home, I have enrolled in three Coursera courses, but I’ve decided to focus on just one for the moment, so that I can really enjoy it (and take care of all the other chores and joys of life).

my MOOC companion, Ripken
I’m taking the Journey of the Universe course. It’s an integrated theological-ecological-cosmological approach to looking at the origin of the universe and how humanity has shaped our identity based on our understanding of our origin. I love it.

I’m going to use some of the discussion topics from the course as prompts for my blogging this month.

Here’s the first one:
The first moments of the universe are a great blossoming of astounding creativity. Reflect on the beginning of the universe and its relationship to the world in which we live today. What part of this story of our universe’s emergence evokes awe or wonder in you?

What would your answer be?

I’ll post mine tomorrow for November 3!

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