Learning French and Loving MOOCs

It’s been a goal of mine for a good long time to learn French. During school, I never had class time to take extra languages, despite wanting to; I studied Latin. But a solution exists! Today, a friend turned me on to Duolingo. Duolingo is an online language-learning course platform. You can choose to learn Spanish, French, Italian, German or Portuguese, and they’re adding more. I’ve just spent an hour on it, and so far, it’s stellar – very conversational, very usable. Thanks, Ms. Powell, for the pointer.

As far as online learning goes, I’ve always been a critic. I think it’s because most platforms I had used were difficult to navigate (I’m looking at you, Pearson learning labs). Recently though, I got directed to another online learning website called Coursera. I’m signed up for a few classes, but haven’t taken one yet, so I can’t speak for the actual efficacy. The offerings are quite good, though! I’m excited particularly about one on Kierkegaard, another on relationships, and another on business management.

The exciting part about all of this, for me, is that there are no limitations. As someone who loves to learn – it is my all-time favorite thing to do – it opens up a world of possibilities. It also doesn’t require that I pay or be in class, which lets me keep doing other things I’m interested in.

To everyone I argued with about online learning being a waste of time: this is me publicly eating my words. While I may lose some of the personal interaction a class offers, these platforms let me stay involved in learning even after classrooms are no longer a formal part of my life. I’m not saying they’re right for everyone, but I am saying that if you’re into learning new things, these are good ways to do it.




The power of open-mindedness

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From my professional blog, but I think it works both places.

Especially now, laissez les bon temps rouler!

the girl

Street Art and Seasons

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A couple of patterns struck me today, and from them I drew a couple of inferences. I know that correlation does not imply causation, but I’ll let you decide whether these theories hold water.

I’ve noticed a spike in street art and tags around my little corner of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, NC, and it seems to coincide with the emergence of the sun. Outdoor art responds to the weather, of course, so it’s not exactly a genius deduction. I’m outside quite a bit, regardless of the weather, because of the nature of this town. It got me wondering whether street art culture flourishes more in sunnier, or more temperate climes. Or whether it is more tied to civil unrest, as many claim. I’m open to opinions.

A second thing came to me as I was criticizing the trend of misspellings in musician and band names. I wonder if artists chose misspelled names to benefit their Internet presence. They can probably get a website name more easily with a misspelled name, and maybe establish a unique identity. Again, only a theory.

Well, that’s probably enough of that for today. Stay gold.