Monday, October 3, 2011

Don't stop believin', I mean, learning.

Hey interwebs people,

Today it's beautiful outside.  The children are pretty happy, I'm blissfully sore from working out yesterday, and I'm now enrolled at Stanford University.

Whuuuuuu?  Dammit, Starr, I'm sick of you going to school. Who, may I ask, is paying for this?

Well, uh, I should qualify what I just wrote.  I'm going to be taking a free online course offered by a professor from Stanford. I won't get credit, although I'm supposed to get a nifty certificate of completion!!!, and I won't be taking all the exams.

But why bother worrying about such silly details?  I'm gonna put this on my CV for sure!

You can learn more about the class, which is an introduction to Artificial Intelligence, here.  A NYTimes contributor did a short opinion piece on the course, saying that there were over 130,000 folks enrolled worldwide.  It certainly helps that you can choose a basic or advanced track (less or more homework depending on your level of busy-ness).

In my own, expert(less) opinion, I love the idea of quality online education. I've taken courses before that merely involved reading a terrible textbook and then regurgitating the information into an essay.  A for effort type classes.  And I was actually *paying* for those dumb classes.  Gotta love Schools of Education.

Just not acceptable here at the Kiefer Cottage.

As one strives for cocktail party legitimacy in graduate school (yes, I had a prof tell me that you only had to read enough of a book to say a few words at the department/school/conference party--he's a smart guy and I've taken that advice to heart), I want to walk out of this class (can you just walk out of an online course?) knowing a few things, having been stimulated rather than bored out of my mind.

People often ask me how I manage to stuff in all my reading and learning.  Well, I make time for it.  Do the same for yourself if you're actually interested in it.  Also, and I mean this seriously, try to improve your reading speed.  Except at speed-of-light rates, faster reading actually improves comprehension. It also means you're taking up less time in general.  Leaves time for painting, reality television, college football (huh?? yeah, I'm just trying to draw in the masses, despite my disdain for watching sports) and general futzing about.

So get to it!  And then teach me what you've learned.  I'm always up for a lively discussion (don't you mean argument?), especially if you're willing to eventually concede defeat and declare my everlasting rightness.  If you're lucky, I might even say I'm...partially incorrect.

[Note to readers: I hope the link to the Times works.  I currently have a paid-for subscription courtesy of Lincoln (the car brand), so it offers me unlimited access until they stop paying for it in 2012]

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