Be passionate and bold. Always keep learning. You stop doing useful things if you don’t learn
– Satya Nadella
The proliferation of massive open online courses (MOOCs) is a boon to learners thirsty for new knowledge and skills. The range of subjects and contributing institutions is vast enough to require several lifetimes to soak it all in. My initial foray into this new world produced a course wish list built on an unbridled fervor of possibilities. My browser darted between different subjects and drawn towards particular professors and institutions. I quickly learned that the time required to truly learn and derive value is real and in my case, not unlimited. I now employ a strategic approach to learning within the MOOC revolution.
Below are thoughts and observations on MOOCs I have taken.
The Data Science Specialization consists of nine courses and a capstone project. I have completed all courses in this specialization and earned the verified certificate. It is a subject matter relevant to my profession and personal projects. I also believe these skills are important to the future given the rapid development of tools and data availability.
Johns Hopkins University
Brian Caffo, Roger D. Peng, Jeff Leek
I will warn prospective students that the content is well suited towards those with an aptitude for math, programming, and statistics. If your background and experiences are light in these capabilities then the course ROI will be even greater if you invest the necessary time and energy.
Of all the online courses I have ever participated in, this MOOC is by far my favorite. Otto Sharmer teaches leaders how “to lead from the emerging future”. Additionally, he applies the core concept to the design of the class. Traditional learning artifacts (reading, recorded video, and quizzes) are married to community based learning groups who meet virtually and/or physically. These self-organizing groups were comprised of thousands of people from every corner of the globe. It was a great experience to be a part of and I plan to join the next iteration, U.Lab 2.0 commencing in September 2015. I recommend to anyone interested in growing their leadership to commit fully to the community engagement opportunities. You will broaden your network while practicing new skills at a deeper level.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
I must admit that my motivation for taking this course was to see Robert Shiller, a Nobel Laureate and economics professor for Yale University in action. Extending my knowledge of Financial Markets was a secondary consideration given my education and experience. The course did expose me to history and context of ideas that I had not encountered previously. This is a fantastic opportunity for folks seeking an introduction or review of financial concepts. I recommend investing the time to complete the recommended textbook reading. Especially to someone new to the subject.
University of Maryland, College Park
Dr. James V. Green
This was my first MOOC and exposure to the Coursera platform for facilitating online training. This is a well prepared course and leverages practical tools that you should use in conjunction with your entrepreneurial efforts.