What we can learn today is truly amazing. Some are from established universities offering free classes through a platform like Coursera. Others are from online education companies like Udacity that are breaking ground in the competency based genre. Even so, there are still excellent options that are only available on a traditional campus like the University of Calgary. What can’t be denied is that there are some amazing classes and degrees available today and there will be even more in the future.
I had the newest and best technology growing up. The Atari 2600 started my love affair with video games that still lingers even though I haven’t bought a game system in a decade. There was a Commodore 64 in my room the moment they came out. I had one of 4 desktop computers in my freshman dorm of over 80 students. Even so, if you had told 16 year old me that 36 year old me was finishing an M.Ed. that focused entirely on the technology and delivery of online education, I would have laughed at the absurdity of it.
If you had told 25 year old me that cell phones would become smart phones, and that I would get a new one every few years, I would have laughed at wanting something so intrusive. The undeniable reality, or dare I say inevitability, is that progress isn’t stopping anytime soon. We live in a world of seemingly constant change with top job markets today being things that didn’t exist 10 years ago. I’m currently taking web development classes through Udemy because I wanted to and because they were on sale at 5% of the regular cost. With that in mind, here are 3 amazing classes and 1 unique degree that you can study today.
Amazing Classes and Degrees
University of Calgary — Students in the final semester of the architecture program can take one of four studio classes. The most recent, and to me the most intriguing, option is to design a colony on Mars. If you’ve ever questioned the reality of humans trying to find a way to colonize the red planet, you need not look any farther than this. Not only are the technical aspects being looked at, but this studio course focuses on making things livable and enjoyable instead of merely functional.
Coursera — Among the 2000+ classes offered on Coursera by top tier universities, there are some that really stand out. I took one for a certification a few years ago on Gamification. When browsing the highly rated and most popular lists, some interesting courses stood out. Princeton is offering one on the technology of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrency. The University of Hong Kong offers one I’m intrigued by, simply to understand how it would work in an online environment, that focuses on Implant Dentistry.
Udacity — This is the item that sparked my attention more than any other here. I like Udacity’s format. You pay a monthly flat fee for the degree and finish at your own pace. If you finish in less than 12 months you get half your money back. You also spend your time proving competency in each area instead of simply passing tests. This all leads to a tremendously interesting option to take their micro-degree program to learn how to be a Self-Driving Car Engineer.
What are you going to do about it?
As we move towards more space exploration, designing dwelling spaces on Mars becomes more than just a utilitarian endeavor. As technology increases we will need to find safer ways to transfer money. We can also expand the potential topics to very hands on jobs like dentistry. Even more so, as new fields emerge we will need qualified people to create and maintain the products of those jobs.
So, what do you want to learn? What class, or degree program, would you want to see? What’s your wildest fantasy for online learning?