Last fall, in the grip of a self-improvement fit, I realized that a MOOC was just the thing to turn me into a fascinating — and sought-after — dinner party guest. But which MOOC? Should I become insufferable on the topic of global poverty? Folklore? The human genome? Plant life? Algebra? Or, better yet — the entire world!
I registered for “The History of the World Since 1300.” It was taught by a Princeton professor, and I imagined the new me dropping references to the Mongol invasion, and the role the environment played in the crises of the 14th century.
I had just decided to buy a Princeton scrunchy — they sell those — when a small problem emerged. Namely, the class started, and suddenly there was a textbook I was supposed to read, lectures I needed to watch, essays I had to write.
It was like college all over again, but this time complicated by a full-time job, my children — and Netflix. I never did manage to catch that first lecture, or any subsequent ones. The weekly letters from the professor sat in my inbox, haunting me, like a thank you note I hadn’t written.
After a semester of pain, the emails ceased, and I decided to scale back my goals: maybe I’d try Pilates. But last week, there it was: another email from Coursera, the online education company. “Beth Teitell, we have recommended courses for you!”
I should have hit delete, I thought as I found myself pondering a class in climate literacy. But I’m not that strong. No — I’m Al Pacino in “The Godfather III”: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!”
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.