www.coursera.org: A collection of online free courses taught by prestigious universities around the world!
I was first introduced to it by Natali Lekka (a fellow Greek translator and University buddy) and I thought it was a marvelous idea! As I was up to my ears in work I did not have time to go through the whole list of courses offered and as the days went by, it completely slipped my mind. Then, Catherine Christaki (a fellow Greek translator and friend) posted the link in her Facebook fan page. And it served as a reminder for me!
I went on the site and started digging more! Wow! The list of courses offered range from Humanities to Health and Law, 325 in total at the time of writing this post! Interesting courses for individuals with no previous knowledge on the subjects, just the ticket! Some courses do require some specific previous knowledge but their majority does not. And the institutions teaching them are from all around the world!
Not all courses start at the same time, some have already started, some do not start for another couple months (or more!). Of course, a translator cannot predict if there is going to be a famine or feast period when the course start, but I thought I have nothing to lose, I will enroll to one. One, yes, because I want to test and see if I actually gain any knowledge and if I do decide that my investment of time was worth it, then I will enroll to more courses!
As a starter, and since I was always a fan of Health Sciences, I chose the course on Social Epidemiology, please do not be frightened by the heavy title! As it is described in the summary:
Social epidemiology is about how a society makes people sick and/or healthy. We address not only the identification of new disease risk factors (e.g., deficient social capital) but also how well-known exposures (e.g., cigarette smoking, lead paint, health insurance) emerge and are maintained by the social system.
It is taught by Michael Oakes, University of Minnesota. Its duration is 7 weeks (2-4 hours a week) and guess what? Students who complete the course will receive a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructor. It is to commence in May 2013!
To me, it is wonderful to see that there are initiatives such as these! And when the topics or the courses are of interest, then they can be seen as a piece of new knowledge or a new interesting activity one does it as a hobby! Oh, it is great to feel like a student again without actually being one in the age of 34! So, I will let you know how this went! Stay tuned!
Please check coursera.org, you can register there! Thanks!