When I was a child it would take the strength and willpower of a saint to drag me away from the PC. I think all that time I devoted to the net back then has reached me to internet exhaustion these days. There’s not many websites I visit now and I absolutely hate being stuck in that rut. I could have like, 5 tabs open of the same site, the exact same page, all because my internet usage is so limited in scope.
Over the past year though I’ve really tried to embrace the educational parts of the Internet. My schooling history can be described as looking at a sine wave. Bullying + emotional difficulties = a child who would rather be anywhere else but school. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the lessons — I was a bookworm, shy but keen to learn — it’s just that after a while people became really, really scary.
I’m currently a student of Psychology at The Open University which suits me perfectly fine. I’ll probably talk more on this in a future post and will edit this to link to my experiences, as this isn’t going to be the focus of this post. There are some downsides to this kind of learning style but I find it works flexibly around the state of my mental health conditions and the OU was what I wanted to attend when I was a teen! I knew I’d never be able to cope in a traditional environment so it was nice to fulfil my childhood wish to study via the OU.
One of the true great things to have access to online though is all the free educational tools. I’m talking OpenLearn, FutureLearn, Coursera. I find these resources so invaluable for my own personal development.
When it comes to a career, I have no idea what I want to do. It changes pretty often and I don’t find myself particularly good at one single thing, more that I’m interested in multiple things. I kind of just want to know a little bit of everything. This is why when I do free online courses it’s for my own interests rather than hoping to gain a qualification out of it. Nonetheless I have purchased the odd statement of learning or two but I’m not sure how employers would look upon them. At OpenLearn you gain a free statement of participation at the end of each course, so I do tend to have a preference towards doing courses on there as it makes it slightly easier to track my personal development and what I’ve learned, but I’m always writing in a notebook or OneNote as I follow the courses so I usually have some records elsewhere – if I can find them! (I’m slightly disorganised).
Some of my personal favourite courses have included:
Introduction to the philosophy of religion at OpenLearn – Philosophy is a topic that interests me in a “I love The Good Place and talking philosophy it via pop culture” way but I’ve never been overly interested in reading further. This one had me thinking hard and interested me more than I thought it would.
Irish Lives in War and Revolution: Exploring Ireland’s History 1912-1923 at FutureLearn – I think this was the first FutureLearn topic that got me invested straight through to the end. It was presented in such an engaging way and I keep an eye out now for whatever subjects Trinity College Dublin places online.
Introduction to Forensic Science at FutureLearn – A little cracker of a course from the uni of Strathclyde. Low-key, as a child I used to dream about becoming a forensic scientist. All that CSI-watching and boxset collection really got me thinking “oh yeah, no problem, I could do this.” I struggled a little with this one, I’m not as scientifically minded as young!me would have liked, but I enjoyed the immersiveness of this one.
What about you folks? Any of you study any free courses online? What topics interest you?