About a month ago, I found a link on Twitter for the site http://www.coursera.org. I don't even remember who posted it, but they're awesome, whoever they are. XD Coursera is a place where you can take classes for free. The classes are on tons of different topics and taught by professors from top recognized universities. It almost seems too good to be true, right? You can't get college credit for any of the courses, but for me it's a great way to expand my horizons. I don't have the time or money to go back to school for anything, but this is something I can do.
I signed up for a course called Gamification taught by Dr. Kevin Werbach at Penn State University that started last Monday. Once the class started, I got access to a two units of video lectures broken up into 5-15 minute segments. I especially like that aspect of the way Coursera does things. I can find small bits of time to watch one of the video parts much more easily than I could an hour or so to watch the entire lecture. I also have access to discussion forums specific to this class. I will get some homework assignments. For those of us who do all the homework and have a grade score of 70% or above will get a certificate of completion for the course once it's finished.
So far, I'm incredibly pleased with how this is going. I've finished the videos and homework for this week. Tomorrow, I'm going to sit down and go through the suggested reading articles and read those. Gamification is a fascinating topic. It's about applying game elements to non-game things, like business, education, or personal fitness. I'll admit that I was attracted to this topic because I'm a bit of a game geek. The subjects we're tackling in this class are close to what my husband studied while working on his PhD. It has been interesting because Dr. Werbach is approaching these topics from a different perspective. This first week has mostly been an introduction to the topic, but I look forward to seeing where it's going to go.
This class apparently has more than 63,000 people registered for the class from all over the world. Based on a class survey (of which only 40% of the students responded too), there's nearly 150 countries represented. The class has a hashtag for Twitter for students to discuss class topics, but I admit it's been almost impossible for me to follow because of the sheer volume of people participating. The class supposedly has a Facebook page and presences on other social networking sites, but I haven't tried touching those yet. I have a feeling if I tried digging into those, it would end up becoming a huge time sink for me; that's definitely something I don't need--I've got enough of those without getting any more help. =P
I've been really psyched about this class. I'm already looking at picking up a couple of other classes to start next month. I'm thinking maybe the one on Greek and Roman Mythology (I spent a lot of time studying that once upon a time, but it's been more than a decade now) or maybe one of the programming classes. If anyone reading this feels like joining me me, drop me a line. I think it'd be fun to have someone to chat with about this on Twitter or whatnot.