Online Education and Story Research

I’m going to tell you guys about this, because apparently this is a well-kept secret.

You can take college-level courses for free on the internet.

Kit, I hear you say, what does this have to do with writing and/or reading?

Well, I’ll tell you.

I use Coursera mostly. Coursera partners with universities across the world, and they have tons of classes in all sorts of subjects. (There’s also tons of classes offered by MIT.) Not sure how the other ones work, but Coursera doesn’t really care if you complete all the class requirements or not.

Again, you say, what’s your point, Kit?

Well, guys, you know how you sometimes need to do research for your stories? Wha-hey, here’s a good research area. I’m currently taking a class called Soul Beliefs: Causes and Consequences, which is from Rutgers. It’s not for any specific story but just for inspiration. (I was hoping we’d focus more on cultures and mythologies, which we did in the beginning, but we’ve moved more into biology and neuroscience, which is still very interesting, but not quite what I was looking for.)

Aside from that, it’s your opportunity to take classes in whatever you want. Things you wanted to do in college but didn’t because it would mean you wouldn’t graduate on time. Things you’ve become interested in since. I think, as a writer, you need to always be learning new things and having new experiences, and this is just another venue to help you do that.

As for me, my class ends on Monday, so it’s probably time to go searching for a new class. Coursera recommends Comic Books and Graphic Novels (from my alma mater, haha) and Video Games and Learning from UW-Madison.

Have you tried one of these online college courses, Squiders? What’s you take, and how did you like it?

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