life · Uncategorized

Going Back to School in Australia, Korea, and the UK

image taken from Future Learn’s Transmedia Storytelling Course

Before anyone gets excited, no, I haven’t been accepted into any MFA programs. I haven’t even applied…and I’m skeptical as to whether I ever will.

It has been almost a year and a half since I graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a completely online course of study. I miss that. I miss the little eight-week bursts of exciting new knowledge on topics that aren’t necessarily relevant to my day-to-day routine or my work. So I decided to enroll in some online courses for this quarter!

I stumbled onto Open University, a UK institution that has its roots in Future Learn…long story short they offer free courses in a variety of professional and academic subjects and for a fee will give you a statement of participation that apparently looks good on a resume. They’re not accredited, and the work load is very light (3 credit hours per class) but it looks like a great way to learn something new, or at least pick up the basics and terminology I need in order to set myself up for successful self-learning on the subject.

Currently I’m in an Intro to Cyber Security taught by Cory Doctrow. I have a Transmedia Storytelling class from Sungkyunkwan University in Korea, which I’m really looking forward to. I think it will be extremely relevant to my work with HOOKED and allow me to step up my game and imaginatively redesign my story format to take full advantage of the application’s potential. I’m also signed up for a Mindfulness and Wellbeing course from Monash University in Australia, which should help with my New Year’s resolutions to stay a little calmer and saner through the amazing process of publishing and living with my boyfriend (and our housemates.) I’m thinking about taking a Songwriting course too, but I don’t want to over commit myself. I am publishing a novel right now.

I love online learning. I’m taking three classes this quarter, and the equivalent of 9 credit hours on three different continents. Not just three different countries, but three different continents. This fantastic experiences only renews my desire to be an advocate for online learning.

My Intro to Cybersecurity started yesterday, and I am already enjoying it. This is offered directly through Open University, and the lecturer is Cory Doctrow! The “lectures” are really bite-sized, just a few minutes a piece, so I’m a little underwhelmed, but I’m definitely getting what I want out of this course. My boyfriend is currently working on his masters of computer science with a security concentration at Stanford University…needless to say he knows A LOT about this and it is important to him, so I’m hoping that I can give myself a decent grounding in the field and have context for everything he tells me about his classes and ideas. Beyond that, I know I could be doing a lot better job at protecting my  information both online and offline…it seems kind of overwhelming to completely overhaul my digital security, so I like that this class is giving me eight weeks to pull myself together and walk me through the process of being a smarter end user. Plus, I’m just learning fun stuff! Did you know that the giant Target hack happened not because their systems were breached by a hacker, but because a phishing scam managed to get ahold of their HVAC contractor and essentially steal credit cards through the air condition!?

It’s not too late to join these courses, or a hundred others, so I highly recommend you check out Future Learn and Open University if you have any semblance of free time and take an easy class on something you love. Education is a lifelong gift that anyone can give themselves!

 

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