Coursera – high-quality online CE courses…and they’re FREE!

While serving on the Washington Library Association’s Marketing & Communication Committee, my task — because the subject is something I’m very passionate about — was writing articles in the WLA’s eConnections newsletter about continuing education opportunities for library staff and for library customers. I informed readers about very library-staff-specific resources like WebJunction and  Tech Soup for Libraries, to resources for staff as well as for staff to recommend to customers: Open Culture (“the best free cultural & educational media on the web”); Virtual University (information design instruction); and Udacity (where you can learn to build your own search engine – how cool is that?!?)

coursera tagline



As I mentioned it’s a passion, so I continue to be on the lookout for CE resources. I don’t recall exactly when, although I believe it was early last summer, I found another wonderful resources for those of us who never want to stop feeling that thrill that comes with learning/mastering something new: Coursera. In case your hyperlink isn’t working today, I’ll provide the website so that you can write it down: And I apologize for not writing about it sooner.

Taught by professors at top universities, the current offering of 633 MOOCs run the gamut from Arts & Education to Engineering & Computer Science. I’m currently enrolled in Massively Multivariable Open Online Calculus Course. At first glance it seems beyond my ken, since it’s been quite a while since I took linear algebra…but I’ve always wanted to master calculus, at least the basics, so well see how it goes 🙂 You don’t know if you don’t try! If I fail, I’ll know where I need to start from so that I can take it again.

In April I hope to begin Understanding the Brain: The Neurobiology of Everyday Life, then in June I’ll be exploring Internet History, Technology, and Security…what is the Internet? How was it created? How does it work? How do we secure communications on the Internet? (I should know by August 🙂 )

The Coursera courses are all free. However, for a fee you can follow the “Specialization” path, proving you’ve mastered the material of several courses on a single topic. Great for those of us who want to show potential employers we’re ready for challenges…and they probably look really cool framed. My ultimate goal is earning the Data Science specialization —- looking at all the specialization possibilities, what’s yours?



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