Introductions

Let us know who you are! Here are things we would love to know about you:

  • where are you from
  • how many courses have you taken
  • what brings you here

I will go first!

I am Dhawal Shah, the founder and CEO of Class Central. I grew up in Bombay, India but currently live in Silicon Valley.

Since 2011, I have done around 20 courses. You can see them on my Class Central profile: classcentral.com/@dhawal

A lot of the MOOCs I did were during the first few years of the MOOC movement, when there still was a strong community. But for the last few years, I didn’t complete even one course. But last year at Class Central we started doing an internal study group and since then I have been able to finish six courses!

As amazing as it was, it wasn’t “Massive”. So we decided to experiment and see if we can recreate partially the experience of the original MOOCs.

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Hello! I’m Pat from Queensland, Australia. Taking online courses has been my hobby since 2012. I love learning online!

Although I failed the quizzes dismally in my first online course (Introduction to Astronomy), I found the videos fascinating and have since completed 145 courses.

After I set up a blog about online learning, I landed a job with Class Central, in Help and Support. I also write posts for The Report by Class Central.

Although taking courses can be interesting, it can sometimes feel a bit lonely. I have enjoyed getting to know my Class Central colleagues better as we work on courses together and am looking forward to meeting more learners from around the world.

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Hi everyone! :grinning:

I’m Manoel. I’m from Spain, but I live in Belgium.

I don’t remember what my first MOOC was. It was many years ago. But I’ve taken about 20 online courses since. One of those that made the strongest impression on me was CS50. It’s quite amazing.

Online education has a special place in my heart. I did my university studies online, and I got my job at Class Central through another excellent online course: Learning How to Learn. This one’s great for new online learners.

Taking courses online with my colleagues has been a lot of fun. So I look forward to seeing this community grow worldwide. Happy learning everyone! :grinning:

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Hi online learners around the world, it’s so nice to meet you here in Class Central’s Study Group.

I’m Rui, grew up in Hubei, obtained on-campus degrees in Beijing, and now live in southern China.

Discovering, engaging in and sharing interesting online learning materials is one of my favorite hobbies. In the past few years, I’ve completed 20+ online courses. Here is my Class Central profile: Rui Ma - MOOC transcript, reviews, and interests | Class Central

Online learning experience finally led me to the best online learning community, Class Central. If you’re also passionate about online learning, never hesitate to join our community and share your ideas and moments in your online education journey.

Thanks for the emergence and growth of online learning platforms and communities, accessing to massive online learning resources around the world becomes so easy. But I’m still exploring personalized and iterative way in online learning to merge what I’ve learned into my life and work .

Look forward to connecting with you here.

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Hello everyone!

I’m Suparn from India.

My online course journey for which I own a verified certificate started with a Data Base Management System course from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur via Swayam during my Masters in CS (specialisation in Artificial Intelligence) from Central University of Rajasthan, India.
Afterwards, I’ve completed Digital Marketing related 7 courses from ClickMinded, 15+ programming courses from SymfonyCasts, and various MOOCs and online courses from Coursera, FutureLearn, and Udemy.

You can see all of them on my Class Central profile.

As a member of Class Central’s internal study group, I was able to finish a Coursera course The Truth About Cats and Dogs which was not possible for me even to start if I would have done it alone. Apart from learning new things, it was really a lot of fun.

I’m pretty sure that It will be very interesting and knowledgeable journey with a public study group. Truly speaking I could have never even thought of starting Mountains 101 course without this study group.

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Hi - I’m Karen; I’m from Maine in the US. I’m retired and have plenty of time for doing my favorite things, including reading and MOOCing! I’ve met Dhawal and Pat already through Class Central.
I’ve been taking moocs since 2012; I’ve completed, I don’t know, over 100. I tend to prefer academics, particularly humanities, but lately I’ve been working a lot on biology and chemistry. I keep saying I’ll take anything except computer science or business. I blog about the moocs I take at A Just Recompense (and Class Central has been kind enough to reprint a couple of them in The Report).
When I first heard about this Study Group project, I was kind of jealous; it sounded like a lot of fun. A lot of the people I used to mooc with in the early days have moved on. So I’m delighted it’s been made available to all of us, and I’m looking forward to studying with you all.

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Hi Karen, it’s great to see you here in the study group! I enjoy reading your reviews of MOOCs and also remember you from Coursera discussion forums. Enjoy Mountains 101 :mountain_snow:

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Hi Dhawal - I agree so much with what you say about the experience of original moocs (I was yelling “Yes!” every other sentence when I read your article a few weeks ago). I’ve called it “The Golden Age” - instructors who instructed! Lively discussions (and yes, some were a bit off-track, but they still had relevance and value). Real start dates, the feel of “it’s the first day of class.” And different formats, imaginative ways of creating interactions, some synchronicity, and ways to explore the subject beyond what I call “YouTube and a quiz.” I’ve been told I’m stuck in the past, and I guess I am. I recognize the business end of moocs has to be considered, and I see advantages of the present (especially starting whenever I’m ready) but I miss the chaotic good of it all.
So thank you for trying this way to recapture some of the magic. I’m happy to be here.

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thanks, Pat, and likewise - your posts on the small study groups are a large part of why I’m here.

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Hi Everyone!

I’m Barb Oakley, an instructor on Coursera. I’ve learned so much about MOOCs from Dhawal and Patsy. I have trouble finishing MOOCs that I start–in fact, although I love the Mountains 101 MOOC, I’ve only gotten halfway through it! I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy the camaraderie of this group–and it will help me finish the course!

Warmly,
Barb

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It’s so nice to see you here, Barb! Coincidentally, I’d just brought up LHTL in my own introduction, a bit higher in this thread. :blush:

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Part of what’s so nice coming here is seeing so many old friends here!

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Hey All , Dilrukshi from Colombo Sri Lanka , currently a postdoc in Tokyo Tech
I did my Ph.D. researching MOOCs, and particularly how do we bring social presence to the participants.
I started MOOCing :wink: in 2012 and finished 56 courses and unfinished about 100+ :wink: I love the early MOOCs where there were many conversations back n forth discussing, networking than just content. I miss that.

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It’s lovely to see you here Dilrukshi! Your Ph.D. research sounds interesting :owl:

Hi everyone - my name is David Hik, and I am one of the instructors and co-creators of Mountains 101 (along with Zac Robinson and a talented group of colleagues - you will meet them in the course). And I am really looking forward to meeting all you as part of this Study Group! I think this is a great idea, so thanks to Class Central for organizing this.

I have been conducting research on the ecology of mountain environments for over 30 years in Canada and other parts of the world. Mountains 101 is our attempt to provide a wholistic overview of mountain environments from a variety of different perspectives. In creating Mountains 101 we had a number of important partners including Parks Canada, the Alpine Club of Canada, the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, and our production team at Onlea. Since we launched the course in January 2017 over 60,000 students from 180 countries have participated, and nearly 10,000 have ‘graduated’! So @barboakley welcome back! And you too Pat! And of course welcome to everyone else who has introduced themselves so far.

In addition to Mountains 101 I have been involved in the production of another MOOC as well - Sheep in the Land of Fire and Ice - Free Online Course: Sheep in the Land of Fire and Ice from edX | Class Central, and in my day job as Associate Dean (Academic) at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia have been exploring opportunities to capture (or package) some of the new online teaching materials that were created over the past year during the pandemic into new MOOCs. So would love to hear from you what new courses (and formats) you would like to see in the future.

But for now, looking forward to meeting as part of this Mountains 101 Study Group. And please encourage your friends and colleagues to sign up too - the more the merrier!

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Welcome, @DavidHik ! I loved Sheep in the Land of Fire and Ice too :sheep:

Hello everyone. I’m Hamish. I’m from the UK, but have been working as a private tutor in Thailand for quite a while. I’ve been doing MOOCs continuously since 2011 and have finished around 400 so far, from pretty well every platform I can find…coursera, edx, futurelearn, canvas, udacity, udemy, saylor, open2study (sadly gone now) and others. I mainly do humanities, social science, and environmental courses. I’ve also been a TA/mentor on a range of courses. As has been noted, the community aspect of MOOCs has declined, although some courses on futurelearn still have it.
Mountains 101 is a course I started when it first came out, but did not complete (there have been many more than those 400 like this). So this seems like a perfect time to try again, especially as we are in effective lockdown in Bangkok for the foreseeable future.
Good to see Barbara Oakley here, and I promise to re-engage as a mentor on LHTL now I’m freer again.

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That’s really impressive. Welcome to the study group!

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Barb! How can you even have the time to do a course! Don’t you have books to write or new courses to record???

For those who don’t know Barb check out her body of work here: https://barbaraoakley.com/