Not quite like I remember it; instead of finding a seat in a classroom (for which I probably searched at least 20 minutes) and waiting with baited breath to see who the professor will turn out to be I’m sitting in my living room/study in front of my computer—waiting to see who the professor will turn out to be! What are the odds though that Princeton University is going to allow itself to be represented to a zillion eager learners worldwide by anyone but the best?
So there I was Sunday afternoon right at the time the first two lectures were being downloaded—in my living room—in front of my computer—in my sweats—with my Costco green tea (no wine in class)—becoming one with those eager learners.
It was great. I am once again a happy student. And it’s free. And from Princeton. This class is “A History of the World since 1300.” It’s accompanied by a textbook titled “Worlds Together, Worlds Apart.” The professor is a guy named Jeremy Adelman and yes, he is very good. This is a regular Princeton upper-level undergraduate course and it feels like exactly the right way to start down this life-long learning path. I think I was looking forward to an age when I never exercised, just watched junk TV and lived on doughnuts, cigarettes, wine and coffee. Alas, that time never seems to arrive. I guess it’s just all abs class, all spinach, all study right up to Bingo and gruel at the Home.
There have been a few computer glitches so I haven’t finished watching the second lecture yet but I can already tell this is a very good thing. I do read a fair amount of history but it’s always era/person/region specific so there is always that sense of not knowing exactly where what you’re reading fits in with everything else going on in the world at that moment in time. This is one of those survey classes I’ve always loved but a bit modernized so that Africa and Islam are given an equitable share of ink.
So far so good. I think I’m a MOOC fan.