Free online courses. Free is my favorite amount to pay. Who doesn’t like free?
Knowledge is the best prep ever because it can save/change your life and can not be taken away. There’s also more of it than any one person could ever consume available for FREE. If you’re able to read this, you’ve got access to it. Getting information from the internet can be a “Drinking from Mr. Firehose” problem though.
One great solution for making that wealth of information convenient and easy to access, pre-arranged and laid out for your perusal: MOOCs.
MOOCs are Massive Online Open Courses. Some professional educators develop an online course on a particular topic. They put the course online and allow anyone to register for it, for free.
What exactly are these free courses?
As mentioned above, they are called Massive Online Open Courses, or MOOC for short.
The heart of most of these MOOCS is a set of short video presentations. The videos tend to be five to fifteen minutes each (almost as if the educators guessed we’d be trying to fit these courses into a busy life). Some are college-lecture style, with the expert walking you through a topic. Interviews, with the educator talking to one of the lead people in a particular topic in the world, are a popular format. The educator may walk you through a sample problem.
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There are often question sets, too. Practice problems let you develop your own skills if the topic lends itself to them. Knowledge test questions keep you focussed and call attention to points the educators don’t want you to miss. Discussion questions invite you to think more deeply and develop your own point of view.
If the course has a set schedule (more on that below), discussion boards let you share ideas and get feedback from other learners, and often the educators as well.
What are the benefits of MOOCs?
You can pick a MOOC that’s run by people who stone-cold know what they’re talking about. Those experts have brought all their educational expertise to bear to gift-wrap a package that’s as easy to learn as possible and includes what those experts consider the most important ideas on the topic. The firehose of unfiltered information that is the internet is filtered down to the most important bits and served in a glass with a little umbrella garnish for your edification.
You get to pick which MOOCs you take, so you can satisfy yourself with the quality of your source. You get to pick topics. Not everything you’d want is available, but there are thousands of choices. In many of them, learning is self-paced, so scheduling is not a problem.
A whole bunch of them are free. The institution often offers both ‘auditing’ and ‘certification’ versions of the same course. The auditing version means you get to do all the video lessons, use the open discussion boards, and usually take any assessments and see your results — for free. People who need certification that they know something about a topic can pay to take the certification version where their completion and results on assessments are reported on request to whomever the student desires.
What are the drawbacks of MOOCs?
You won’t find MOOCs on highly specialized or technical information. MOOCs on first aid?Good choices abound (just search ‘mooc first aid’). MOOCs on how a lay person can appropriately choose and dose antibiotics? Good luck with that.
As with any information source, you’ve also got to consider potential biases. Why are these people going to the large expense and trouble to provide the course? Often the answer is a fairly clean: “Their mission is to educate.” “They are doing it to sell the certificates and offering a free version earns them goodwill for no extra cost.” “They want to interest good people in their field.”
Sometimes the course producers are trying to promote a particular point of view. With those, you need to pay attention to that and make wise choices out of what to take away from the course.
Motivation can be a problem. ‘Free’ saves your limited resources, yay! ‘Free’ also means you’ve got no skin in the game, as the saying goes. We silly humans pay more attention to things we’ve paid for than things that are free, even when their values are equal. (I’ve noticed several of the Harvard courses I’ve started out by pumping up your motivation. They ask you to predict if you’ll finish, anticipate obstacles to your success, and tell how you’ll overcome those obstacles. Those little mental tricks have been shown to increase completion rates.)
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Enough talk, drop the links!
These are just a small sampling of some of the classes that area available. Hopefully, this will give you a good place to start in finding free online classes to further your education.
Sheep in the Land of Fire and Ice – What do sheep, volcanoes and glaciers have in common? Take this course to see how human land uses, like sheep grazing, over just a few centuries can be an equally strong driving force of landscapes as volcanoes and glaciers over millennia.
Sustainable Soil Management: Soil for life – Learn why soil is so important, how it’s being threatened and what we can do to protect this natural resource so vital to our lives.
Solar & Alternative Power
Batteries, Fuel Cells, and their Role in Modern Society – This course is an introduction to batteries and fuel cells – the cornerstones of electromobility and renewable energy.
Co-Creating Sustainable Cities – Learn how citizen’s co-creation is key in making cities worldwide more sustainable
Solar Energy in Hot Desert Climates – Desert regions are attractive for solar energy, with much sunshine and many opportunities for utility-scale and residential applications. However, their harsh climate creates challenges for photovoltaic (PV) module performance, reliability and energy forecasting.
Natural Disasters – Learn the science behind different types of natural disasters and our ability, or inability, to control and predict these events.
Disasters & Preparedness
Monitoring Volcanoes and Magma Movements – The course covers magma movements in volcanoes and how they can be inferred from ground based and satellite monitoring techniques, including studies of earthquakes, ground deformation, and volcanic gas release. Case studies are presented.
Nutrition And Food
Nutrition, Heart Disease and Diabetes – Discover the latest insights on the importance of nutrition and lifestyle in the development and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes mellitus in the online open course Nutrition, Heart disease and Diabetes.
The Science of Beer – Are you interested in more than just the taste of beer? Discover what’s in your beer, how it’s made and marketed and the effect it has on your body and health.
Nutrition and Health: Human Microbiome – Learn how you can impact your health by balancing your gut health; how your microbiome together with your diet can improve normal gut function. A balanced microbiome and nutritional intake can avoid disorders like IBS, obesity and diabetes.
Nutrition and Cancer – Discover the latest insights on the role of diet, nutrition and lifestyle in the prevention, occurrence and progression of cancer.
Nutrition and Health: Macronutrients and Overnutrition – Learn the fundamentals of nutrition and its impact on human health.
Claude Davis assembled an essential list of “survival remedies” for those stuck at home with little to no access to healthcare. This is essential info for managing chronic health conditions in a “no doctor” situation.
Some Science Related Courses You Might Consider
The Science of Parenting – Move beyond the chatter and opinion surrounding parenting and learn about the scientific findings and data that can help you make sensible, informed parenting decisions.
Reclaiming Broken Places: Introduction to Civic Ecology – Explore why and how people come together to care for nature and community in cities and after disasters.
Healthy Ageing in 6 Steps. Let your environment do the work – Learn how to make healthy choices and adjustments to your lifestyle and environment to help you live a healthier, happier and longer life.
Injury Prevention for Children & Teens – Injuries are the #1 cause of death among children and teens. This course lays a foundation for the prevention of child and teen injuries.
The Biology of Water and Health – Fundamentals – Learn from Tufts University about the provision of safe water, sanitation and sustainability to improve global public health.
Take Your Medicine: How to Be a Savvy Consumer – Discover how to become a savvy healthcare consumer.
Lifestyle Medicine Fundamentals – Learn key concepts of evidence-based lifestyle therapeutic approaches used to prevent and treat the root causes of lifestyle-related, chronic diseases.
CARE: Promotion of Healthy Ageing – Learn how to promote active and healthy ageing when caring for an older adult. Explore lifestyle-related factors and their role in the prevention of diseases and disorders in old age.
Lifestyle Medicine Treatments of Chronic Disease – Part 1 – Learn specific lifestyle medicine treatment protocols for a variety of chronic diseases, such as breast cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
I highly recommend this book to everyone. 300 pages, color, paperback. The Lost Book of Remedies is helping Americans achieve medical self-sufficiency even in the darkest times using the time-tested methods of our grandparents without spending lots of money on toxic drugs and without side effects. A great asset when doctors and hospitals won’t be available any more given the current situation. You may not be Claude Davis, but you can make use of his procedures and techniques to increase your chances of survival!
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