Every semester since I’ve graduated (which I guess is only 3), I’ve said I was going to unofficially take a course at CMU or Pitt. Which basically means sitting in on a class and hoping no one would care that I’m not actually a student. I never did this, but I still want to.
Along the same lines, I get really excited when I look at online courses. There are a ton of free courses available at places like Coursera, the Khan Academy, MIT’s Open Courseware, and I believe many other schools have an equivalent. Have I done any of those? Not really, but I want to.
In sum, I’m realizing it’s really hard to do school when you aren’t in school because:
- it’s voluntarily, and
- it’s by yourself.
I can get past #1 but to maintain any kind of momentum or to retain any information, I’ve found I have to do it with or around other people. Reading and watching videos is great, but I don’t think you can solidify information without discussing and/or applying it.
Solution: The Online Class Club
Not sure why this didn’t occur to me before or why I haven’t seen it happening anywhere yet. Basically, ~5 people get together and decide on a class. Or you decide on a class and get ~5 people together. Then you go through the material together and discuss it over beers. Like a book club, but The Online Class Club. I’m thinking this is a more viable option than the “Unofficial CMU Students Club”.
To have a successful Online Class Club, you’d obviously need motivated people who would stick with it more than the first couple of lessons and not ‘not have time’. We’ll see! Sounds like fun to me, maybe I’ll actually organize it. Comment if you’d be interested!
For real schools?
I think this could be a relevant model for real schools. Classes wouldn’t necessarily need a teacher per say, but more a facilitator. The facilitator would be a very organized and motivated individual who wants to learn about the subject as well, and would be responsible for getting the class together, making sure people participate, do the assignments, etc. The course material would be provided and guided by online resources. I’m not sure what the rights are regarding the online courses, but maybe it’s feasible.