The Penn Supplement: Part II
August 7, 2012
Thinking like an Engineer
August 29, 2012

Finding New Spaces for Learning

Online courses are the newest trends in the world of higher ed. as world-class professors bring learning opportunities to internet platforms.  Coursera, co-founded by two Stanford professors, is home to an astounding 119 courses from 19 universities–and the platform continues to grow.  The courses are free for all and attract a great range of students.  What I’m thinking about now is how high school students–especially those approaching the application process–might capitalize on this cutting edge resource.

Dr. Filreis, Penn English Professor and Faculty Director of the Kelly Writers House, is teaching Modern and Contemporary American Poetry  on Coursera.  Dr. Filreis has been teaching classes online since the web’s first birthday in the mid-nineties.  He is excited by the opportunity to reach a wider audience interested in poetry (this could include you!) and spoke about two reasons for high school students to enroll, summarized below:

Coursera provides access to disciplines that might not be available to you in your high school.  The platform offers traditional courses, such as Calculus: Single Variable with Robert Ghrist, which due to location or budget, for example, might not be found at your school.  Coursera also provides those courses that are only available in college settings, such as Penn’s Gamification with Kevin Werbach.  Dr. Filreis says: “While you can’t get credit from these courses, you can convey in your essays or in letters of recommendations that you have taken, for example, a calculus course, which was not available in your high school.”  Exposure to varied academic disciplines–from game theory to neuroscience–could prove integral to your ongoing intellectual journey.

Coursera challenges you to think like a college student. Dr Filreis identifies college-level thinking as “deep not wide.”  High schools value “coverage” of core subjects whereas college courses offer deeper insight into traditional subjects and look at the intersection of disciplines.  Grappling with advanced critical thinking skills and increased rigor will be helpful to you as you ready yourself for a successful transition to college.

Dr. Filreis notes that time commitment per course might average 6-8 hours a week.  Only name and email are required to get started.  I encourage you to check out Coursera’s offerings, if only to see what awaits you in college, and to fit a course into your schedule if it speaks to you.

You can watch Dr. Filreis’ introduction to Modern and Contemporary American Poetry here:

While browsing courses, take time to check out the following Penn classes:
Health Policy and the Affordable Care Act taught by Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, PhD
Vaccines taught by Paul Offit, MD
Fundamentals of Pharmacology taught by Emma Meagher, MD
Listening to World Music taught by Carol Muller
Gamification taught by Kevin Werbach
Networked Life taught by Michael Kearns
An Introduction to Operations Management taught by Christian Terwiesch
Greek and Roman Mythology taught by Peter Struck
Design: Creation of Artifact in Society taught by Karl T. Ulrich
Neuroethics taught by Jonathan D. Moreno, PhD
Calculus: Single Variable taught by Robert Ghrist
Basic Behavioral Neurology taught by Roy Hamilton, MD
Cardiac Arrest, Hypothermia, and Resuscitation Science taught by Benjamin Abella, MD MPhil
Rationing and Allocating Scarce Medical Resources taught by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD
Introduction to Genome Science taught by John Hogenesch and John Isaac Murray

Comments are closed.