Remember College before it was just about how much money could be earned…
Remember signing up for classes—way too many which you desperately wanted to take—you perused, selected, changed, added, selected another, reconsidered, ‘Oh wow, gotta take that…history of everything and there’s literature by everyone.’ Maybe I loved it all so much because I was already a 26-year-old with two small children and had been waiting to start college since I was 18.
As I remember it was all perfect, but the best day of any semester was going to the bookstore to pick out those gigantic information-weighted books and carrying home an armload of worlds. Even Trigonometry had its own torturous appeal.
I loved and still love the look and feel and energy of a university campus above all other places. I did the MSW program at San Diego State University not so very long ago—and am still working off the student loans, joking (sort of) that my tombstone will say ‘She just made her last student loan payment.’ Visiting my granddaughter on the UC Berkeley campus has been a pleasure, and just a bit of a wallow in nostalgia, even though I never lived on campus or for that matter made it to a school of Berkeley’s stature.
That was then, this is now. I still love that sense of the big wide world of possibility that a campus offers and think if I were doing this all again I would become a history professor so I never had to leave that leafy bookish coffee-fueled environment (but then I realize the energy to deal with campus parking has long dissipated).
Now, even being in love with the idea of school-forever, it nevertheless makes me tired to think of all the studying and listening and testing and writing (and parking) that goes into getting those degrees. However…thank the gods-of-learning-new-stuff, something like that is still possible at my advancing age.
There remain bona fide universities with ivy-wreathed buildings and brilliant professors teaching classes about Everything—with reputable on-line programs. Some are straight-up, for–credit certificate or degree-earning programs like my writing classes from UCLA. They are a little expensive but offer qualified part-time teachers, a fair amount of work and critiquing, and grades are issued (important to me since, as I’ve claimed before—I’m always at-heart the third-grade teacher’s pet).
And then there are the MOOCS which is what the next few Parts/Post will describe. Yes, I’ve written about Massive Open Online Courses before but I’m always amazed at how many people are still unaware of them. Stay tuned…I’m through with my university history now…on to the main event. Part 2: MOOCS and ME. In a day or two.