“People who do stuff do more stuff, and people who do stuff do better than people who don’t do stuff.” — Reich’s Law
I like learning. Occasionally I have some bouts of ‘strenuous’ learning and went through a flurry of online courses. There were periods when I woke up at 5am in the morning to, say, watch videos on Ancient Philosophy. Not always, mind you (I wish). I just made the most use of it when I was in this state.
Like many people, I often got distracted and have abandonment issue. I’ve had WAY more courses on my enrolled list than the completed list. Here are the courses (mostly MOOCs) I think I completed to some degree, in chronological order with some comments (pardon the links to various old blogs, I had a blogging disorder).
Fairy Tales: Origins and Evolution of Princess Stories, Canvas Network (post here) - August 2013
Fantasy and Science Fiction: the Human Mind, Our Modern World, University of Michigan, Coursera (post here) - August 2013
The Fiction of Relationship, Brown University, Coursera - 10 September 2013 This is the first course that I actually got a certificate for! (post here)
Startup Engineering, Stanford University, Coursera - September 2013
This is one of those early courses that defeated me, but I reckon I spent enough time and effort on it to include it here. Looking back on it, 12 weeks course, really? Who’s got that much of attention span these days? (post here)
Computational Investing, Part I, Georgia Institute of Technology, Coursera - August 2013
Jumping from the previous course to this one wasn’t the greatest idea. It was also too hard! I didn’t complete it, but I remember the lecturer’s face 7 years later, so I think it gave enough of an impression to include it.
The Future of Storytelling, iversity.org - 17 December 2013
A Brief History of Humankind, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Coursera (post here and here) - 30 January 2014
This is one of my most memorable courses. The lecturer for this was none other than Yufal Noah Harari, University professor turned best-selling author. I thought the materials were amazing and that I found a real gem in a corner of the internet. Much to my surprise, Sapiens the book was published right after the course ended, and it just exploded into the world. The professor was possibly using Coursera platform to test drive his materials on Sapiens. I had the biggest urge to tell people that I found him first and that I knew him before he was famous, and the whole world was a bit late, but I don’t think anyone would care. Alas the course is not there anymore, so I’ve also got no proof, except for the virtual certificate on my Coursera account.
A Brief History of Humankind marked the end of the first MOOC era for me, as coursera had turned from free to not-free. Not in one day, but gradually and sneakily like a disease, and at the time this was just too annoying for this learner.
Creative Writing for Beginners Course, Penguin Random House, The Writers’ Academy - Nov 2014 - Feb 2015
Intermediate Creative Writing Course, Penguin Random House, The Writers’ Academy - May-Oct 2015
“A Room with a View” by Forster: BerkeleyX Book Club, University of California, Berkeley, edX - 2 March 2016
“The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Wilde: BerkeleyX Book Club, University of California, Berkeley, edX - 29 April 2016
Markedly in August 2017, I had a moment madness and decided to enrol in a Bachelor Degree in English Literature and Creative Writing with the Open University. I’m doing it part time so it would take me 6 years to complete. It’s possible that I didn’t quite realise that I was signing up for separation with ‘spare time’ for the next 6 years.
The Power of Podcasting for Storytelling, FutureLearn - November 2018
Modern Masterpieces of World Literature, Harvard University, edX - October 2019
Thanks to the ‘summer holiday’ in between my University modules (June-September 2020) and a worldwide pandemic, I was having my second wave of Coursera-ing. Let’s call these ones the pandemic edition:
Finding Purpose and Meaning In Life, University of Michigan, Coursera - May 2020
Entrepreneurship 1: Developing the Opportunity, University of Pennsylvania, Coursera - 16 June 2020
Learning How to Learn, McMaster University, University of California San Diego, Coursera - 22 June 2020
Getting Started with Go, University of California, Irvine, Coursera - 3 July 2020
Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential, McMaster University, Coursera - 7 July 2020
Build a Modern Computer from First Principles: From Nand to Tetris, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Coursera - 11 July 2020
Functions, Methods, and Interfaces in Go, University of California, Irvine, Coursera - 16 July 2020
Ancient Philosophy: Plato & His Predecessors, University of Pennsylvania, Coursera - 24 July 2020
The Science of Well-Being, Yale University, Coursera - 9 August 2020
Ancient Philosophy: Aristotle and His Successors, University of Pennsylvania, Coursera - 21 August 2020
Algorithms, Part I, Princeton University, Coursera - 24 August 2020
Algorithms, Part II, Princeton University, Coursera - 2 October 2020