Sunday, September 22, 2013

Free Computer Classes - We Love Coursera!

I'm a huge fan of Coursera.org, a company that allows students to take any number of courses for free. There are hundreds (I couldn't find an exact count, but possibly even thousands) of courses offered for no charge by professors all over the worlds from institutions including Michigan State, Peking University and Stanford. An unlimited number of students can sign up for each class and all work is done online. 

I realize most people reading this blog are either Nursing Instructors, Administrators or students -- meaning you're already paying for, or have paid for, a college education. However, learning doesn't need to stop in the nursing classroom. 

Especially when technology is involved. I know many people have mentioned being less equipped for electronic charting than they would like, mainly because they have little computer experience. By taking one of these classes, you can learn about whatever subject you'd like while getting computer experience, just by virtue of the fact the class is online. 

However, I'm listing to computer classes specifically below: 

Internet History, Technology, and Security offered by Charles Severance through Michigan State University:  What is the Internet? How was it created? How does it work? How to we secure communications on the Internet?
Because EHR Tutor is an internet based program just like many learning management systems, we thought this course would be a relevant crash course in the thing that has brought computers this far: the internet. 

Computer Science 101 offered by Nick Parlante through Stanford University: CS101 teaches the essential ideas of Computer Science for a zero-prior-experience audience. The course uses small coding experiments in the browser to play with the nature of computers, understanding their strengths and limitations. Sign up for the "To be announced" session to be notified by email when the class is next run, and sign up for "Self-Study" to start browsing the class materials right away. Self-Study mode makes all the videos and assignments available to be done at your own pace, but without a certificate of completion at the end.
This class is a great introduction to computers after you have the on/off button and mouse usage down. For a new computer user, this is a way to really understand the machine you'll be relying upon at your job. 

And for those of you on the fence about Coursera, it only takes a few seconds to create an account and sign up for a course. There's no commitment of any sort and you can leave the class at any time if you decide it's not for you.We love the fact we can now continue education without paying a dime!