At the beginning of April, I told you about a website called Coursera.com. It offers free online classes from some of the best universities in the world. Since that story, Coursera has grown a lot. Over four million people – including me – have used Coursera, and it now offers classes in multiple languages.
If you haven’t checked out, or taken a look at, Coursera, then I recommend that you do. This weekend, we’re replaying our story on it from April. So, have a listen and learn more about Coursera.com…
The weekend is a time for relaxing and taking a break from work. It’s also a time for doing things that you just don’t have time to do during the week.
One thing that I try to do on the weekends is study a bit. And I have lots of options. If I want to learn something new, I can take a class at one of many different universities in America, or even at a university in some other country like England or Singapore.
I’m not actually enrolled at these universities, which means that I’m not a student at them. And I don’t pay any money to learn. So, you might be wondering how I take these classes.
Actually, I take them through a website called Coursera.com. Have you ever heard of Coursera? It’s a new way to learn, and it’s called a MOOC, “M-O-O-C”.
That’s an acronym, meaning each letter stands for a word. And MOOC stands for “Massive Open Online Course”.
That’s a perfect way to describe Coursera, because its courses, or classes, are massive, meaning they’re really large. They’re also open, because anyone can take them. And of course, the courses are online.
Other websites offer MOOCs, but I think Coursera is the most popular one. And I really like it.
It’s been about eight months since I began using Coursera. During that time, I’ve taken courses in computer programming, design, the food and energy systems, and even songwriting.
The reason why I’m telling you about Coursera this weekend is because it’s not just for native English speakers. In every class that I’ve been in, there have been thousands of students. And many of them were from other countries and were not native English speakers.
You might be thinking, how can they understand everything the professor is saying? Well, I’m sure that it is difficult sometimes, but there are a few things that can help.
First, a lot of the lecture videos (and a lecture is a speech that a professor gives) have subtitles. That means you can listen to what the professor’s saying while reading the subtitles, or words on the screen.
And in some of the courses, I’ve noticed that there are actually subtitles in foreign languages, like Spanish.
Second, the videos all have a great feature: you can push a button to change the speed. If the professor is speaking too quickly, you can slow it down. Or, if the lecture is too slow, you can accelerate it, or speed it up.
So, Coursera is not just for native English speakers. It’s for anyone who wants to learn, whether they’re interested in science, technology, history, writing, math, philosophy, art, or just about anything else.
If you’re listening to this podcast, then that means your English is really good. And, it also means you’re interested in learning, just like me! So, maybe the next time I take a Coursera course, we’ll be classmates!
That’s it for this weekend. Besides English, what else are you interested in learning about? I’m interested in learning more about writing, the environment, food, and Mandarin Chinese.
If you’re already taking a Coursera class, or if you know about any other good online education websites, please let me know! Leave a comment at ESLnewscast.com.
ESLnewscast.com is “Your English Window to the World”, and whether or not you’re taking a Coursera class, I hope you have a nice weekend. I’ll talk to you again on Monday. Bye-bye.