Continuing Education in the Pandemic

One of the things that most people recommend when you continue your education on a self-taught basis is to declare your intentions on something like a blog or other public forum, which is what I'm doing right now. I have the intention of continuing my education, albeit on a part-time basis, but decided that as classes at the community college will continue to be online through at least next summer, I would rather save my money and spend my time working a self-created curriculum.

While obviously not a degree path, auditing, especially online, is an incredibly accessible way to further one's education. Stanford and Yale are currently offering a range of free courses. Accredited universities also routinely offer free courses through Coursera and edX. Many community colleges like the Community College of Philadelphia post their syllabi entirely online, so those dedicated enough can construct an independent class with the reading and materials, absent the instructor, of course.

Pepper this with resources from MERLOT, which "provides access to curated online learning and support materials and content creation tools, led by an international community of educators, learners and researchers", library databases like that of the Free Library of Philadelphia, Jstor still offering free public access during COVID, and museum tours from this list of 75 Free Virtual Museums, and you've got yourself a myriad of free and accessible learning tools, field trips and all.

I originally went to college to be an English major (I know, I know), so I started with a refresher course, taking the AP English Literature and Composition course free on edX. I then looked at Emerson College's Degree Requirements for the Creative Writing and Writing, Literature, and Publication majors, since this is what I originally intended to major in after being accepted to Emerson College in 2017. By looking at the course descriptions and searching through the open courses currently available, I now have a decent idea of which classes I can take, for free, to as closely emulate this degree as possible.

Then, I created a spreadsheet to keep track of what courses I've completed, the name of the course and the dates taken, the credits earned, if any, and important links including links to the syllabi. Keeping this information in one place is important for a self-created curriculum, and despite these being audited classes, you never know when good records may come in handy.

I'm a firm believer that the education system in the United States is abysmal, and I'm sure many would agree. I will most likely, eventually, graduate with a four year degree from a community college simply to have the piece of paper that proves my level of education, but I see no harm in smartly utilizing the resources I have in a manner that makes the most sense to me and creating my own curriculum, at least for the time being.

If you're looking for more resources to get you started, I've dropped some below. Best of luck!

If you like the content I produce, consider checking out my website or supporting me on Ko-Fi.


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