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Monday, November 17, 2014

Education for all goes online

    The internet has made taking educational course as easy as sitting down at your computer.  I have recently finished an online course on the Constitution and the Supreme Court.  The course was offered by Coursera an online education site.   Wikipedia explains this program as:

".....a for-profit educational technology company founded by computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller from Stanford University that offers massive open online courses(MOOCs). Coursera works with universities to make some of their courses available online, and offers courses in physics, engineering, humanities, medicine, biology, social sciences, mathematics, business,computer science, and other subjects. Coursera has an official mobile app for iOS and Android. As of October 2014, Coursera has 10 million users in 839 courses from 114 institutions."

     Some courses have a fee but many are free like my course.  Some of the courses are taught at the college level but many are designed to be introductions to a subject area that doesn't require much advanced knowledge to successfully complete.   My Constitutional course was just such an introductory course.  For 8 weeks I reviewed 3 videos from the professor which were each about 10 minutes long.  The course was taught by Kermit Roosevelt III---the great, great grandson of Teddy Roosevelt.  He is a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
      While I was somewhat familiar with the Constitution and its amendments from college courses and following the news I did gain a perspective on how our current Constitutional issues are being viewed.   You soon realize that those who describe themselves as being a "strict constructionist" or wanting our current judges to follow "what our founders wanted when they wrote the Constitution" have probably little familiarity of how our Constitution was arrived at beyond the Second Amendment.  Just like interpreting the Bible, the Constitution has sections that can be used by proponents of both sides of an argument.  An example of this is the Second Amendment where gun control advocates can believe that the right to bear arms was only in the context of a militia and gun rights advocates can believe the right goes to any citizen and not just related to a militia.

    The HoCo Library also offers access to online courses through Gale Courses.  Check those courses out here.

    Finally there is the amazing courses offered through the Khan Academy on their You Tube Channel.


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