Studying on Coursera helped Leah, a teacher and researcher in Israel, find new ways to inspire and connect with her students. Now, she’s working with a friend to promote interest in statistics through a new center for statistical studies. Here’s her story:
I used to be bored at my job. I saw no purpose in what I was doing, and I felt that my students were simply learning because they were forced to, and forgetting everything within a second of passing an exam.
When I found Coursera, I thought that by taking some courses in data science and statistics, I might be able to develop a better approach to teaching those subjects in my own classroom. After completing parts of the Excel to MySQL Specialization, from Duke University, and the Methods and Statistics in Social Sciences Specialization, from the University of Amsterdam, I started bringing some of what I was learning into my classes. And it worked! My students became more interested and engaged, and even when they were not interested, I felt challenged and motivated to make them interested. I took another course on Digital Storytelling, from the University of Houston, which helped me make all of my class presentations more interesting and inviting. I loved every minute of it.
Eventually, I realized that I disagreed with the way that many colleges and universities teach statistics. I wanted to show students that statistics can be interesting and exciting. So, together with a friend, I’ve opened my own center for statistical studies. We have three main purposes: teaching teenagers and students to love statistics, teaching in-demand statistics and computer science skills to adults, and providing statistical analysis and research design services for private sector and research clients. Although we will be teaching in live classrooms, all of our curriculums are based on the best things that I learned from my courses on Coursera.
I’m still taking courses on Coursera, too, in many different subjects. I’m learning photography, which has helped me to become more engaged in life and to see beauty everywhere around me. I’m also taking classes in Spanish, and through those I’ve met people from around the world, including a new friend who lives in Guatemala. I attribute a lot to Coursera – it’s given me not only career skills, but also passion and meaning in my life.17