Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The joy of being a student!

i count myself so lucky to have been gifted with a natural disposition to want to learn new things. Not just about things that will help me in my profession but also general topics that might have a bearing on everyday life. With the internet explosion, knowledge is available through multiple media at the tip of my fingers. You name the topic and you have got it. And i am glad that i have started my new year by being a part of a course which adds to my knowledge of a topic i never thought would be a subject of formal study - a course on morality! It is called Moralities of everyday life.

The website coursera.org offers free courses from renowned universities  from across the world on every conceivable topic on earth. Anyone can join in and there isn’t like a minimum eligibility criteria to join them except for knowledge of english language and the technological paraphernalia to view online content.

Coming back to the course, even though it is just week 1, it is quite intriguing in the issues it raises. All of us have an inherent sense of right and wrong. It could be genetic, cultural or intuitive. But are there a set of rules that govern that? Or do we just follow gut feel? Or do we decide between right and wrong based on just how we feel at the time of decision making? Week one of the course looks at historical and philosophical approaches to morality. It talks about whether emotion guides us to our sense of right and wrong or reason - it turns out that passion wins over reason!

Apart from the lectures and reading lists, there are these forums where you have people starting posts and putting up ideas on every conceivable aspect related to the course in question. Going through the forum posts alone could hugely satisfying and learning experience in itself. To know what ideas people from different parts of the world think about depending on their demographics like age, gender, culture and their views and preferences on the course being studied.

i find a medium like this very interesting to continue to study. Since this doesn't have a formal admission process, i don't have to decide in advance. i just enroll at the spur of the moment because something appeals to me. It not just brings back the joy of learning something new but also the school girl in me on her toes trying to catch up with all the material. There is this surge of happiness and positive energy in me when i think of writing notes and trying to assimilate the news things learnt. It's almost like my happy place (apart from, of course, the books i read). i also think it's a great way to keep my mind away from idling away and ill the empty hours of my day.

i have joined other courses on this website but haven’t managed to complete any of them. The work load per week turns out to be a lot more than they casually mention in the course guidelines. But i am up to the challenge this time and hope to keep up with the engaging content, week after week, for just 6 week!!

One down, five more to go! :)

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