How I Redid My Education to Become Current

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About This Site
For me, the new education model is awesome!  I loved these courses because the caliber of the content was phenomenal.  However, to use them successfully, people will need to learn a different set of skills.  
I have personally completed over 18 courses on the and platforms including the MITx Certificate in Educational Technology.  The professors are the "real deal."  The courses have helped make me much more valuable as a tutor and resource for students and their families.  Here are reviews of some of the courses I have completed and a little about how I use them.

 MITx/Edx Certificate in
Educational Technology

This certificate program consists of four courses including Educational Game Design and Evaluating Education Technology. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to better understand how technology can be used in the education arena.   I acquired this certificate in order to make myself more valuable to my students and their families.  (and, to better understand who actually knows what they are talking about.)

Intro to
Solid State Chemistry
From MIT on Edx 

Excellent course, very hard!  Although they say you only need a little high school chemistry, I would recommend a solid chemistry foundation and a pretty strong math background.  (My math background saved me in this course.)  The professor is good, he does more than teach and owns several patents.  He presented some of his developments in class.   This was the actual class at MIT and videos showed the students.  I used this course to help me become a more knowledgeable chemistry tutor. 

  Introduction to Biology,
The Secret to Life
MIT on Edx

Excellent course, challenging!  Brush up on your basic biology if you plan on taking this course.  This has been one of my favorite courses.  The professor has cool stories from helping to map the human genome and testifying in front of the Supreme Court.  This course was very valuable personally. 

 Statistics I, II and III 
 UC Berkeley, EDx 

Very informative set of courses; very approachable.  Good introduction to statistics for any adult who has not taken statistics yet and wants to understand data better.  Please remember that statistics can be dry but the professor was pretty decent.  This course is easier than the actual course at UC Berkeley, but still very good for the average person who needs to grow his or her skills.  The weekly work wasn't overwhelming. It was very manageable.  You don't have to brush up on your algebra to take this course, just do a quick review of how formulas and square roots work.  These are 3 separate courses.

Energy 101
U of Texas at Austin, EDx 

Excellent course, very informative and very important for understanding the economic drivers of our world.  Very approachable.  This course does not require a lot of education to understand the  concepts.  There are good interactive activities for participants.  This would be a good course for parents and youngsters to do together.  Probably any student 5th grade or higher could benefit from the information.  The information would make some great dinner table discussions.

How Things Work
U of Virginia, Coursera 

Good introduction to physics without having to know a lot of math.  I put a 7th grade athlete (Kyle) into this course and he passed the course.  It was challenging for him.  At the same time, it provided a chance for him to see how the new model would work and to gain some confidence in his skill set.  We did  parts of the course together, but I had him do the final on his own and he passed.

Introduction to Genetics
Duke, Coursera 

Excellent course.  Good overview of how genetics works.  The professor was able to talk about his own research and relate it to how it could affect us in future health cures.  There is some basic math so be prepared that genetics does require math, but it is mostly fractions and percents.    It is also a good idea to have a little of today's high school biology.

Introduction to Calculus
The Ohio State University

Excellent course!  Very good introduction to calculus.  I used this course to become a better tutor for calculus.  The supporting material provided is pretty good.  The videos are a hoot and pretty solid explanations of calculus concepts.    You want a decent precalculus background before taking this course.  It is definitely college level material though I  am not sure the tests and quizzes were as hard as those that are on campus.

Understanding Media by Understanding Google
Northwestern University

Very good course!  I did this course with two moms of teenagers.  We were selective about which pieces we did because both moms were very busy.  The course helped them be more knowledgeable about the internet.  It let them use information and knowledge to provide more credible guidance to their teens.

Introduction  to Neuroscience I
Harvard on 

Good course.   The videos and interactive activities are quite good.  Harvard created its own platform, though, so check that the interactive stuff works on your computer.  It doesn't work on all computers or tablets and that is an interesting part of the course.  Be aware that the final is hard, harder than the videos indicate.  The supporting reading is challenging because the vocabulary is pretty high.   I ended up using the scripts to the videos to pass the final.  It is a good idea to have a decent understanding of biology and chemistry before taking this course.

Solar Energy
U of Delft, Netherlands

Excellent course, but very hard!  Probably the hardest course I have taken.  Brush up on your chemistry, electricity and calculus before taking this course.  Really informative about what is happening in solar energy.

Genomic Medicine Gets Personal
Georgetown on 

Phenomenal course! Probably my favorite course so far.  Doctors who do the research and treat patients are the primary presenters.  The focus is on current developments in the cures for breast cancer and melanoma along with some other genetically influenced diseases.   Pretty approachable, but you will get more out of it if you are comfortable with high school biology including DNA and genetics.

Introduction to Chemistry
Duke on Coursera

Good foundational course.  The videos were very thorough.  I printed out the slides first and followed along pausing the videos when I needed to.  The videos are a little longer than most, so pausing is good.  The professor was able to talk about her research and its implications which makes courses more interesting.  The homework, quizzes and tests weren't overly challenging. It would be a good course for brushing up on your chemistry before college or for redoing your fundamental chemistry as an adult.  Probably easier than the actual course on campus. 

Preparation for Introductory Biology 
UC Irvine on Coursera

Good course.  Higher level than most high school courses.  Good to do before taking a college level biology course.  The course is also short which is good, too.  The slides for the videos can make good reference material.  I have used a few of them with my students.

Introduction to Game Design 
MIT on Edx

There is a lot in this course.  It teaches a number of aspects of game design both computer based and non-computer based.  Although I technically passed this course, I actually want to retake it in order to get more out of it.   It is important to be able to invest significant time every week in order to do this course right.  To get the most out of the course, it is a good idea to already know some programming.  It's pretty techie.  However, Scratch would probably suffice.

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