Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of guest posts from Courserians, called “My Coursera Experience”.
Hi everyone! My name is Dipendra, a college student in Kathmandu, Nepal. I wanted to write and tell you about my journey as a Courserian.
Last June, I signed up for “Introduction to Sociology” from Princeton University on Coursera. The course experience began when the first reading materials and lectures were posted. I was nervous and scared to start, as I didn’t know what to expect.
Over the weeks, my insecurities subsided as I became hooked on the discussion forums. I looked forward to hearing back from my fellow classmates. The discussion forums were very lively and never sleeping. The topics we discussed would go on and on for hours, which was never the case in an in-person classroom that I had experienced. It was exhilarating.
A lot of local study groups were forming, and I took this initiative of doing that here at Kathmandu. The in-person study group was motivating as well; I could see a wide range of discussion going on about a particular issue simultaneously in person and on the discussion forums.
This type of immersive and organic learning experience helped me see hundreds of diverse perspectives on the topic of sociology. I also had a unique sense of ownership of the class. After the six weeks were completed, I started looking at things through the sociological lens. I would try to look at existing personal and social issues around me in Kathmandu, and apply different perspectives I saw from my fellow classmates on the problem.
My story doesn’t end there. A few weeks after the completion of course, I was invited to visit Princeton University in October by my professor! Professor Duneier invited me to visit him because of my active presence in the class through our weekly Google+ Hangouts and my participation on the forums. I had become familiar with Professor Duneier over the weeks from watching lectures from thousands of miles away, and it was a surreal experience to see him right in front of me. We talked about the class experience and I got an opportunity to attend the live lectures at the university. As an added treat, I also had the pleasure of meeting two other very impressive personalities during the visit including the Princeton University Provost and Daphne Koller, co-founder of Coursera.
[Myself, Daphne Koller and Professor Duneier]
In nutshell, the Coursera experience for me has been a whirlwind of exciting new experiences. Today, I can sit in Kathmandu and study the most sophisticated course material from highly esteemed institutions like Princeton. In Nepal, these kinds of learning experiences hold a high value, because of two primary reasons: they are free, and the content is outstanding.
-Dipendra K.C., Courserian living in Kathmandu, Nepal.