Category: Learning to Learn

Reviewing the Basics Helps Us See the Light

I enjoy finding the occasional online mooc to participate in, as time permits, even if it’s something I’m already familiar with. Hearing or reading about an old concept in a slightly different way can bring new insights, make us rethink something we’ve been taking for granted, or just help us make a new connection. “Don’t assume that just because you can get something to work once,...

Find Your Reason to Code

I signed up for a moderate-paced mooc through edX a few weeks ago, and while it’s not too late to join, you’d have to hustle to catch up at this point. It’s an intro to computer science, but its heavy focus on Python is what interested me. Finding a Reason to Code There are too many languages out there to bother trying to learn them all. Some are ancient but...

Must… resist the temptation…. oh, for pete’s sake just MOVE OVER and let me do it!

One of the coolest things about being a parent is getting to teach your kids something new. A new game, a new skill, something they didn’t “get” before. It’s a bit of immortality, in a way. Imparting something onto the next generation! Okay, so it’s not always grand. Sometimes we’re just trying to unload something we always have to do, like getting their own milk or clearing the...

The Beauty and Joy of Computing (mooc), and My First Snap! Script

“The Beauty and Joy of Computing” (BJC) is a new mooc that started just a few weeks ago. Dan Garcia has been teaching it at UC Berkeley for awhile, and now it’s available on edX. Discover the big ideas and thinking practices in computer science plus learn how to code using one of the friendliest programming languages, Snap! (based on Scratch). We’ve been working on this...

5 free resources for improving your programming skills

There are two truths about programming that didn’t sink in (for me) for several years: We have to be life-long learners. There are a lot of people who will help us along the way. (And eventually, we can return the favor!) Okay, we don’t have to keep learning. No one’s going to force you or me. The number of small businesses running legacy apps is only going to...

Charles Townes, The Laser, and Fostering Curiosity

When I hear about a discovery or invention, it sometimes seems inevitable that the people involved should’ve ended up where they were, doing what they did, as if they were handed the situation or the whole thing were preordained. At the very least, I don’t give much thought to what in their lives led them to that eventual point of discovery. I...

Is your degree worth the paper it’s printed on?

What defines the value of a thing? Gold and silver were just metals until people agreed to use them as a commodity for trade. A 2.5″ x 3.5″ piece of paper is a scrap, until two people agree it’s worth a million bucks. A penny is only worth 1¢, until someone comes along who’s willing to trade 2.5 million pennies for that single penny. So it’s more a question...

Be Fearless in Learning New Things

How many times have you heard someone say, “I’m just not a computer person”? How many times have you said it, about other things? I do, all the time. I may not always say it out loud, but it’s there. “I’m not a cooking person.” “I’m not a car person.” Maybe it’s partly laziness… it can certainly appear that way on the...

A March of MOOCs; How to Find a (Good) Course; Working as a Team; Is Free Really “Free”?

A March of MOOCs; How to Find a (Good) Course; Working as a Team; Is Free Really “Free”?

I’m in the middle of a few courses on edX right now, and I felt like sharing my experiences so far, and other thoughts I was having on the uses and applications of MOOCs. What’s a MOOC? A MOOC, or massive online open course, is a general concept. It’s usually attributed to any course that’s available to a large audience via...