How MOOCs are changing my life

Not long ago, I left my job as a fitness guru to travel the world while working for a social advertising software company. New to online business, I decided to research all the possible ways in which I could bring value to the company. Turns out, I know nothing.

I had never taken an online course before and thought the idea seemed a bit depressing. However, I knew MOOC’s were probably my best option. Unfortunately my degree in theatre didn’t fit the prerequisites of Data Analysis and I’m math illiterate. Not a great start.

In college I sat in the front row. I loved going to class and emailed my professor at least once a day. The thought of substituting my favorite professor (Rob Doyen, I love you.) with a computer made me want to vomit. Nevertheless, Udemy I went.

Living in hipsterland of Berlin inspired me to take User Experience: The Ultimate Guide to Usability with Dr. David Travis. I was hesitant to take the course because of it’s $200 price tag, but reviews told me it’s the best. They were right. I finished 80 lectures in 2 days and left with a new passion for design and human computer interaction.

I’m already implementing what I learned into our software company. I even interviewed a client in London to better understand how we can improve our website.

Now I’m enrolled in Computer Science 101 via Stanford University and Human Computer Interaction via UCSD, both absolutely free! Finding a great instructor is key to having a quality online education experience. I tried several courses and wanted to shoot myself in the face after 30 seconds of some lectures. I’ve learned to ditch those pretty quick and only take classes that are addicting.

Learning online is changing my life. I’m finally able to take interesting classes on a specific skill and apply it right away. I’m connected to thousands of other students around the world taking the same class and commenting on the the same lectures. I don’t feel intimidated to enroll in a course that seems out of my league. In fact, I feel empowered to choose courses that are perhaps beyond my ability and work my butt off to figure it out.

MOOCs helped me discover new interests and job possibilities. (Who knew I’d actually like statistics?!) I think everyone should explore a few free online courses before enrolling in college, changing careers, or to become a more well-rounded person. Coursera lectures have taken place of my late night Netflix, and I couldn’t be happier.

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