I wanted to write something about tackling new computer/technology projects but then the holidays happened… Anyway, my plan was (still is) to get back into GIS–specifically geospatial data analysis–and eventually find paid work again. The field of GIS (and other such computer-based technologies) is changing fast and I need to keep pace if I’m going to find work. Another reason to do it is that I have some projects waiting when I go back to my hometown. I’ll post something about it when the time comes.
So, I was taking some online courses through Coursera and will do so again once I start keeping up with my schedule. Coursera offers a lot of courses from a lot of different fields. I got started when I received an e-mail from the U of MN’s alumni association offering a course called Creative Problem Solving. The class was well done and the assignments were very challenging–not hard but meant to make you think and do something outside of what you normally do. It got me inspired to take more courses. I took a couple of Python classes and was doing really well until the last two weeks of December. That’s not really an excuse but when you start doing something else other things get dropped. Online courses are easy to drop because, well, you can always get back to it… Not. Watching course videos take a little bit of your time and, like, traditional courses it’s hard to catch up when you fall behind. It doesn’t help when you take more than one course–those videos will eat a lot of your time.
I do recommend looking at Coursera and picking a class you’re interested in. Avoid taking more than one class at a time unless you’re unemployed and need those classes to build up your resume. If you’re not sure if taking an online class is worth the money, try auditing a class first. You won’t have to pay to audit a class but you won’t get a certificate of completion. Try it. It’s a good thing.