Reflections on my first Coursera experience

I just completed Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World. My first experience with Coursera was nearly universally positive. I have already signed up for more courses, including a Modern Poetry class that overlapped briefly.

From a technical perspective, I found the course easy to navigate and submit assignments, comment on the discussion boards, etc. The video were accessible on my phone, which made it much easier to fit into my day. Each video was about ten to fifteen minutes long, which seemed about right, with a few videos each week.

The course itself offered a great selection of works, and professor Eric Rabkin, from that school up north, was knowledgeable, passionate, and entertaining. Most of the works were available for free download, which was nice as well. I was surprised that a few key authors (Heinlein, Dick, and Asimov) were not included, and it’s probably because their work is not freely available.

I learned a lot as a writer, as well as how to read more critically. Dr. Rabkin also did an excellent job relating the work we read to society. I have always been a fan of science fiction, but I hadn’t realized its true impact on our lives. The selection of works also included a wide variety of authors I otherwise never would have read, which was a very pleasant surprise.

I think this mode of learning has vast potential. More of our collective intelligence will be available to more people than ever before. If we care to learn, we will be able to learn. We will have no more excuses not to tap our potential fully.

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