three woman in front of laptop computer
Photo by Christina Morillo on

The Scientific American  article sat there every time we used the bathroom. I really didn’t have a chance to read it but it involved MOOCs (massive online courses) bringing first rate education to Rwanda. That same summer as we drove all over California to visit colleges for my teen aged daughter, she struggled to find internet access to take her tests from the University of Melbourne MOOC on Epigenetics.  My husband and I were fascinated by her dedication to learn and I became sold on the idea of MOOCs.

This winter, when my twitter feed posted an article in the Atlantic Monthly about the edX, collaboration with Harvardx and MITx and their MOOC platform, I jumped right in to sign up. Because this was a very cold winter, I was not mobile due to an injury, and I am a compulsive person, I decided that three MOOC classes would be much better than one – and they are all free- so I enrolled in:

BerkeleyX: ColWri2.2x Principles of Written English (a basic college essay writing class) taught by Dr. Maggie Sokulik, professor at UC Berkeley.

BerkleeX: BCM-MB110x Introduction to the Music Business taught by John P. Kellogg, Esq. Assistant Chair of Music Business Management, Berklee College of Music.

McGillX: CHEM181x Food for Thought, (it is actually a chemistry class for non- chemists taught by three of chemistry professors at McGill). The course describes itself as ‘A course that offers a scientific framework for understanding food and its impact on health and society from past to present’.

Each of the course descriptions estimate the amount of time that the student will need to allocate for the course. In my case, each of these courses listed five hours a week and that was accurate. The format differs slightly from course to course but there are usually lectures and suggested reading combined with interactive quizzes at the end of a segment. Often there is a forum for discussion on a topic with the other classmates. In some cases, the open discussions have student moderators from the universities, who comment .Some people may be put off by the lack of teacher to student interaction, however, that is not the point of a MOOC. When we refer to Massive is it just that. In my writing class, the instructor noted that 46,000 students were enrolled in the class.

The experience taught me that my children will have international competition and opportunities never experienced by my husband or myself. The courses provided me with a way to get to know some of my classmates and get a feeling for their worlds. Often a Facebook page or Google chat is established for each course and I started a LinkedIn group for my Music classmates. The Music class Facebook page has been a blast as we all muse about the future of the music industry and possibility of UBIQUITOUS WI FI and how in the future musicians will be able to have jam sessions from different parts of the globe with out a glitch. MOOCs may change the world.

I have posted some of my classmate’s music from the Intro to Music Business Course

Will See Music 

Francis Steel Music 

ElectroUniquie (Nina Lucas)


The House Rat 

Livinda Livn Wf 


 Phaserun (a Columbian High School Band)


Just Freaky 


 The Music of Shena



Buffy Rose

Larree Hollywood

Old Natives 


This was also posted in Open Salon under Snarkychaser and on the Westfield Patch