Get Your Learning On
When I realized that we’d probably be in this for a longer haul, I started to think about how I’d like to spend my summer quarantine weekends and hours saved from commuting into my office. I saw some people posting about online courses, and dove right in.
GUYS. If you haven’t checked out EdX or Coursera yet, stop scrolling and RUN. These platforms offer countless classes on topics from data analysis to criminal justice to workplace wellness to social entrepreneurship to languages – and they’re FREE!
Excited yet? Feeling overwhelmed? I was too, but here’s some advice on how to choose the right course.
1. Having fun or filling the gaps?
Decide whether you want to learn for fun or if there’s a gap in your career path that you’d like to address. So far, I’ve taken two courses that happened to be both fun and work related! The first was Vanderbilt’s “Hot Topics in Criminal Justice” and the second was Harvard Kennedy School’s “U.S. Public Policy 101.” Since I work in CJ and closely with policy writers, I learned so much that was immediately applicable.
2. Review Certificate and Degree Programs
If you have some time on your hands, take a look at the certificate and degree programs that are offered on these sites. These typically are not free, but they can be worth the investment if you’re able to carve out the funds. Since I had so much fun in those policy courses, I’m now in the process of earning a Certificate in Public Policy Analysis! This course was a bit pricier, but I know that it’s filling important gaps that I want to address to advance in my career.
3. Schedule Study Time
Taking a course is super fun – but it does require a bit of time committed. I love Coursera and EdX because they both provide assignment and quiz deadlines to keep you on track. I blocked 3-5 hours each week for my courses so I could really pay attention and keep up the pace.
What about you? Have you checked out any online courses? Is there anything you’re dying to learn about? Let me know!
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Jane Kennedy lives in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and works in criminal justice reform. When she’s not working or writing, she’s probably catching up with friends on FaceTime, getting lost in Rock Creek Park, quoting C.S. Lewis, or trying to recreate Salt and Straw ice cream at home.