Join University of California San Diego’s “Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects”, starting August 1st.
Over 100,000 learners have already joined Barbara Oakley and Terrence Sejnowski new course, “Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects”–which is not surprising, considering we are Courseraians, after all! The aim for the course is to teach people how to learn more effectively, in any type of study or topic. In the course, Professor Sejnowski, the Francis Crick Professor at the Salk Institute as well as a Professor at UCSD, provides up-to-the-minute perspectives from neuroscience related to learning. Professor Oakley provides far-reaching and practical insight not only from neuroscience and cognitive psychology, but from decades of practical experience teaching tough university-level courses. She notes that in this course, learners will “peep under the mental hood” and understand the way in which people process, assimilate, and ultimately learn information and gain new knowledge.
Professor Oakley’s commitment to mastering effective learning comes from her own struggles with academics. In a recent interview with Popular Science radio, Professor Oakley explained how during middle and high school, she failed math, and therefore invested her time in learning languages. Ultimately, after a stint in the US Army as a Signal Officer, she decided to take on engineering as a second bachelor’s degree to learn more about the systems she with which working with.
Her most recent book, “A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel in Math and Science, Even if You Flunked Algebra”, draws on her own experiences in learning challenging topics. To eventually obtain her Ph.D. in Systems Engineering, she had to overcome her earlier experiences with failing math, and forced herself to develop a framework in which to succeed. Her book and the course include advice and techniques on how to study well, and–as importantly–how to avoid bad, detrimental study habits.
Below are Professor Oakley’s “10 Rules of Bad Studying”, adapted from the book. We hope apply them to your studies on Coursera!
Ten Rules of Bad Studying
Avoid these techniques—they can waste your time even while they fool you into thinking you’re learning!
- Passive rereading. Sitting passively and running your eyes back over a page. Unless you can prove that the material is moving into your brain by recalling the main ideas without looking at the page, rereading is a waste of time.
- Letting highlights overwhelm you. Highlighting your text can fool your mind into thinking you are putting something in your brain, when all you’re really doing is moving your hand. A little highlighting here and there is okay—sometimes it can be helpful in flagging important points. But if you are using highlighting as a memory tool, make sure that what you mark is also going into your brain.
- Merely glancing at a problem’s solution and thinking you know how to do it. This is one of the worst errors students make while studying. You need to be able to solve a problem step-by-step, without looking at the solution.
- Waiting until the last minute to study. Would you cram at the last minute if you were practicing for a track meet? Your brain is like a muscle—it can handle only a limited amount of exercise on one subject at a time.
- Repeatedly solving problems of the same type that you already know how to solve. If you just sit around solving similar problems during your practice, you’re not actually preparing for a test—it’s like preparing for a big basketball game by just practicing your dribbling.
- Letting study sessions with friends turn into chat sessions. Checking your problem solving with friends, and quizzing one another on what you know, can make learning more enjoyable, expose flaws in your thinking, and deepen your learning. But if your joint study sessions turn to fun before the work is done, you’re wasting your time and should find another study group.
- Neglecting to read the textbook before you start working problems. Would you dive into a pool before you knew how to swim? The textbook is your swimming instructor—it guides you toward the answers. You will flounder and waste your time if you don’t bother to read it. Before you begin to read, however, take a quick glance over the chapter or section to get a sense of what it’s about.
- Not checking with your instructors or classmates to clear up points of confusion. Professors are used to lost students coming in for guidance—it’s our job to help you. The students we worry about are the ones who don’t come in. Don’t be one of those students.
- Thinking you can learn deeply when you are being constantly distracted. Every tiny pull toward an instant message or conversation means you have less brain power to devote to learning. Every tug of interrupted attention pulls out tiny neural roots before they can grow.
- Not getting enough sleep. Your brain pieces together problem-solving techniques when you sleep, and it also practices and repeats whatever you put in mind before you go to sleep. Prolonged fatigue allows toxins to build up in the brain that disrupt the neural connections you need to think quickly and well. If you don’t get a good sleep before a test, NOTHING ELSE YOU HAVE DONE WILL MATTER.
We hope these rules will help you study better on Coursera. Join Professor’s Oakley and UCSD’s course “Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects”, starting August 1st, for more studying and learning wisdom.
Studies show that 71% of the US labor force is actively seeking or open to new a job, over 65% of American workers switch jobs every 1-5 years, and of those that stay, almost all employees want a promotion or raise. Taking a Coursera course is not only a way to learn a new skill; it’s also a great way to show that you’re self-motivated, knowledgeable, and intellectually curious. To properly showcase these characteristics, it’s essential to find exactly the right course to signal your aptitude and abilities to employers–for now and for the future.
With more than 700 courses offered across 25+ categories, the options seem endless, and making a choice can be tough. Choosing the right course specifically for professional development can be even more challenging not only because of the sheer number of options, but also because of the distinct nature of individual courses.
If professional development is your aim, when faced with this choice, it’s helpful to think about courses through the lenses of professional goals and skills.
Lens 1: Your Goals
Understanding and clarifying your career goals will help you in the decision-making process. Ask yourself: How do you want advance your career?
When browsing through the Course Catalog, answer these questions as they relate to your goals:
When the answer is yes and aligns with your end-goal, then you have probably found the right course for you (though there might be many, so let’s narrow in more!)
Lens 2: Skills You Need
Now that you’ve narrowed in on your professional goal, think about the skills to obtain or develop to attain the goal. If you know what eventual end result you want in your career, you can properly hone in on the courses that will teach you the skills you need. We host top-tier courses from the world’s best universities and educational institutions–many of which can help you reach your professional goals. Focus on skills that shows employers that you are ready for new challenges and responsibilities in the field.
If you are looking to develop….
…and beyond, Coursera is your ultimate learning resource.
It’s not only about identifying the course that will teach you the right skills; it’s also about making sure you can show employers easily and convincingly that you have those skills. When you are investigating courses, check if the course offers a Verified Certificates, or if it is part of a Specialization.
Employers value these certificates because it proves and signals acumen. During the course, see if you can create or add to your professional portfolio, as well (including completed assignments, Capstone Projects, etc.) So before clicking the “Join for Free” button, consider if this course will tangibly show employers and colleagues you’ve learned the topic by earning a Verified Certificate.
Once you understand what your professional goals are, as well as the skills you want to cultivate, you’re on the right track to finding a course that fits your needs.
We want to hear from you, and allow other Courserians to learn from your experience!
Share your story with us!
Comic Con 2014 is this week in San Diego!
If you are there basking in the celebrity appearances, or even if you skipped the conference this year, we hope the festivities inspire your own graphic art creativity. Here we list some fantastic courses to bring out the storyteller and artist in all of us:
Coursera for Your Career: 4 Courses to Build Computer Science Foundations and Advance Programming Skills
Computer scientists are some of the most in-demand professionals in today’s job market. Hundreds of thousands around the world are pursuing careers in computer science, but the field is constantly changing, where important programming languages today may lose their relevance tomorrow. Teaching computer science, and teaching it well, is a core value at Coursera (especially because our first courses were Machine Learning and Probabilistic Graphical Models).
Since then, Coursera has worked with professors at the top of their fields to offer learners the chance to acquire knowledge and skills in this fast-moving and diverse career field. Whether you’re looking to write your first line of code, build Android Apps or advance the next breakthrough in robotics, there is a class on Coursera that can help you get there.
Feature Your Verified Certificate On Your LinkedIn Profile
1. An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python, Rice University or Programming for Everybody (Python), University of Michigan
Python is the most popular coding language taught in top US universities at the introductory level, having recently overtaken Java. These two classes offer both theoretical and practical knowledge of Python, so it’s ideal for beginners. As a bonus, the Rice University course includes projects building fun games like Pong, Blackjack, and Asteroids!
Also, learning how to code won’t only land you coding-specific jobs. One of our learners, an undergraduate student in India, learned Python through Coursera. When interviewing at a consulting firm, he impressed his interviewer with his understanding of the programming language and got the job. Aspiring coders can take these courses and impress employers with both their new knowledge and problem-solving abilities.
2. Designing and Executing Information Security Strategies, University of Washington
An Information Security Analyst is one of the fastest growing and lucrative jobs in the computer science market, with the demand predicted to grow by 37% within the next eight years. Professor Mike Simmon’s course out of the University of Washington uses real-world case studies to help learners understand, design and deliver strategies for information security with a broad applicability. The course does require some prerequisite knowledge of cybersecurity and modeling.
3. Programming Mobile Applications for Android Handheld Systems, University of Maryland
Mobile has become the most important and widely-used medium for accessing computing services, and Google’s Android OS has the largest smartphone foothold in the world. This course, which is the first of a Specialization, is aimed at helping learners become an Android developer. The series is a collaboration between University of Maryland and Vanderbilt University, and puts an emphasis on both software engineering as well as user experience.
4. Internet History, Technology, and Security, University of Michigan
For learners looking for a broad overview of the field, look no further than Internet History, Technology, and Security taught by one of Coursera’s most enthusiastic professors (who, fun fact, has a Coursera tattoo!).
“Dr. Chuck”, as his students call him, regularly hosts “office hours” all over the U.S. whenever he travels. He holds these sessions in local coffee shops and invites all interested students to attend. One of our learners in Shreveport, Louisiana was so inspired by Dr. Chuck’s enthusiasm for the material that he decided to go back to school after a 25-year hiatus. He will graduate this fall with an associate’s degree from the Florida Institute of Technology!
We want to hear from you, and allow other Courserians to learn from your experience.
Share your story with us!
During the World Cup, we prompted Courserians to imagine a world where everyone who watched the games also took a course on Coursera. Instead of dreaming, we want to make this a reality: behold the Coursera Cup!
The Coursera Cup encourages our global community to represent their country or region via learning. Courseraians influenced their country/region’s ranking by inviting friends and watching lecture videos during the 2014 World Cup.
Congrats to the Standouts!
A Few Highlights:
Great job, Courseraians, for keeping up with your coursework and being an advocate of Coursera during the exciting games. Viva fútbol! Viva Coursera!
FINAL COURSERA CUP LEADERBOARD
The Coursera Cup Leaderboard is a measurement of the most active Courserians per capita per country/region with over 10k learners. We measured “Activity” by video lectures watched and number of learners per capita:
Keep learning without limits, for your country/region, your community, your family and YOU.
A year ago, MOOCs were still relatively unknown in China. On Coursera, Chinese users made up a small fraction of the overall learner population, and our platform didn’t host a single Chinese-language course.
What a difference a year makes.
Over the past year, the number of Chinese learners on Coursera has quadrupled, and thanks to our wonderful partners in greater China — and to a volunteer-powered Chinese translation community — we now host nearly 60 courses taught natively in Chinese or accompanied by Chinese subtitles.
While MOOCs have taken off in China for a number of reasons, Guokr.com’s MOOC Academy — which celebrated its one-year anniversary last week — has undoubtedly played a big role.
MOOC Academy is a hub for Chinese MOOC enthusiasts, offering translated course description information, Chinese-language forums, and special content ranging from instructor interviews to MOOC studying tips. MOOC Academy began as a simple discussion thread on Guokr.com; a year later, it’s now a thriving community of over half a million Chinese MOOC enthusiasts.
Happy anniversary, MOOC Academy!
This Spring, we announced our partnership with the New York Public Library as a Learning Hub host.
Now it’s summertime in the City, so let’s do an homage on what’s hot on Coursera from NYC!
Coursera ♡ Our New York Partners
Featured Summer Courses from some of New York’s–and the world’s–top educational institutions…
NYPL Learning Hub Featured Course
Learn something new during your Summer in the City! The NYPL is offering in-person weekly discussions for a select group of Coursera courses. These discussion groups provide a space to further explore the online material with fellow New Yorkers taking the course. (Plus, they have air conditioning.)
New Yorkers ♡ Coursera
3 Reasons Why New Yorkers Love Coursera…
1. It keeps them forever young
- Mary Lou Russell, received her Masters in Public Administration from NYU; retired NYC public policy researcher. Like all great things, she discovered Coursera via a New York Times article.
2. It makes them stand out in the crowd
- Luis Miguel Ochoa, Strategic Planning at Capital Capable Media. Downloads course videos on Coursera’s app for iPhone to watch on daily subway commute.
3. It reminds them directness is a virtue…
- Bill, Investor. That’s all you need to know.
An entrepreneur is an accountant, a marketer, an HR scout, an operations expert, a skillful manager, a finance whiz, and so much more, all at the same time. Entrepreneurship requires a variety of aptitudes and abilities, and cultivating each individual skill, often a process of a trial-and-error, is difficult.
An engineer by trade, Christina received her B.S. from Oregon State University and worked on data communications at IBM. After receiving her Masters degree in Medical Devices and Diagnostic Engineering from the University of Southern California, she explored her growing interest in biomedical engineering by working at a major medical device corporation.
But in 2007, Christina was ready for a change. She had struggled with the pricing schemes and corporate nature of the medical supplies industry and, seeing an opportunity to make a difference, she envisioned a supplier that put patients’ needs first and offered greater transparency and honesty. BB Medical Surgical Supplies was born from this dream, and since then, Christina has put her energies into seeing her company grow.
Christina was comfortable tackling the engineering challenges in her work, but she was not as prepared for many other aspects of the business, such as marketing. She had never run a company before, and needed to gain some understanding of the market of the devices she was selling. She was also trying to intelligently market on mobile media platforms, and she additionally needed to learn the language of marketing. She didn’t want to defer her dream by going back to school, and definitely did not want to give up on it entirely.
Flipping through The Economist magazine, Christina happened to find a business school ranking in which the Kellogg School at Northwestern University was rated highly. She searched for online courses at Kellogg and discovered they offered a course on Coursera called “Content Strategy for Professionals: Engaging Audiences for Your Organization”. She found that she could take the course for free and pursue a Verified Certificate at a nominal price. She jumped at the opportunity to learn everything she could from two of the top professors in the field.
This was Christina’s first online course, and she thrived. She squeezed in lectures and quizzes on the weekends and engaged with aspiring marketers from all over the world.
“As the owner of a small medical supplies company and also a regulatory affairs consultant, this course helped so much,” Christina said. “I’m not an expert on social media, nor on creating content.”
A question Christina struggled with early on was understanding who exactly were the best customers for one of her products, a spray-on ultrasound gel. Fortunately, this was exactly the sort of exercise she was undertaking in the course. What did potential customers say about it on Twitter or Facebook? What did medical professionals and consumers think of the traditional gel? The course gave Christina the tools to answer these questions, and to understand her target market.
The course is now featured prominently on Christina’s resume. She proudly features her Verified Certificate on her Linkedin profile to signal her marketing skills to her professional network. The Verified Certificate demonstrates proven marketing skills, as well as her motivation and commitment to constantly keep learning to help her business succeed.
Have you ever used a Coursera course to build job skills or advance your career? Share in the comments below - other learners want to hear your experience!
While athletes and fans enthusiastically represent their countries in the World Cup, the Coursera Cup encourages our global community to represent their country or region via their power of learning. To influence your country/region Coursera Cup ranking, invite friends from your country and watch lecture videos during the 2014 World Cup. Week 2 Leaderboard Standings
COURSERA CUP LEADERBOARD STANDINGS
The Coursera Cup Leaderboard is a measurement of the most active Courserians per capita per country/region with over 10k learners. We are measuring “Activity” by video lectures watched and number of learners per capita:
Top 30 Countries/Regions
- Ireland (+2)
- United States (+1)
- Taiwan (-3)
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Spain (+4)
- Greece (-1)
- United Kingdom
- Netherlands (+3)
- Switzerland (-3)
- Lithuania (-2)
- Denmark (-2)
- United Arab Emirates
- Hungary (+2)
- Bulgaria (-1)
- Costa Rica (-1)
- Czech Republic (+1)
- Chile (-1)
Countries that need to start inviting more friends and watching those lecture videos…
Make Your Country the Coursera Cup Winner
Make your country dominate the #1 spot of the Coursera Cup. Invite your friends to Coursera and keep up with lecture watching during the World Cup until the Championship Game on July 13th, 2014.
The Coursera Cup Leaderboard is determined by the “activity” of learners per capita in each country/region with over 10k learners. “Activity” for the Coursera Cup is measured by number of lecture videos watched as well as the % growth of new learners on Coursera from that country.
Thanks to almost 5,000 volunteer learners worldwide, and our partnership with ABBYY Language Services, Coursera’s Global Translator Community has translated over one million words of course content into Russian. In less than two months, we’ve hit a symbolic milestone in our mission to provide education to anyone, anytime, anywhere.
Russian subtitles are now available for Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence (Case Western Reserve University). Another four courses added recently – including Bioinformatics Algorithms (University of California, San Diego), Introduction to Public Speaking (University of Washington), and others – are in the approval process. The list of courses in English available for Russian translation includes recent additions are such as Model Thinking (University of Michigan) and Functional Programming Principles in Scala (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne).
We are actively growing our global translation team to continue to provide our courses in multiple languages, and are accepting volunteers to translate courses into dozens of different languages. If you want to translate Coursera courses, or learn more about our translation efforts, visit our Global Translator Community.