I’ve started taking a couple of online EdX courses.
EdX is free and lectures from some of the world’s best universities – sometimes they are lectures literally taken from the classroom, so if someone coughs, you miss what the professor says, and other times they are designed specifically for the online audience with the professors speaking directly to the camera.
Overall they are a really great way to get access to a huge amount of information on so many topics.
I started taking The Challenges of Global Poverty in early February. It’s an MIT economics class – that looks at poverty and how/why people in poverty make the decisions they do. I thought I knew a lot about developing countries, this course is changing how I think. The professors are the people behind the book Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, which is a really interesting read on its own.
Then, because clearly I didn’t have enough on my plate I signed up for SW25x, a Harvard course called Global Health: A Biosocial Perspective. This one started in early March. Partially I signed up because one of the lead professors is also a founder of Partners in Health, the subject of the book Mountains Beyond Mountains and a hero of mine, Dr. Paul Farmer. I didn’t really know what to expect, but within the first to lectures we were talking about the past social policies of South Africa that likely led to the TB and HIV issues that nation is dealing now. It’s fascinating.
Over the next little while, I’ll post some of the discussions we’ve been having on course message boards, I’d love to hear any feedback. In the meantime, if you are looking for a free way to think a little more about your world, I highly recommend checking out the courses available.