Participate in a Coursera Make-a-Thon project! | Coursera Community
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Participate in a Coursera Make-a-Thon project!


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Hi, Coursera Community!

We are currently in our 12th Make-a-thon here at Coursera, which is when we come together to share ideas and create projects outside of our day-to-day work to make Coursera better.

Our Make-a-thon project is called "Coursera for Everyone." We are creating a landing page to share: why education is important, real learner stories, career opportunities, and how to get started on Coursera no matter your education background or job experience.

Want to get involved in a Coursera Make-a-thon project? Respond to one (or all) of the questions below!

  • Why do you think learning is important?
  • Which course(s) inspires you and why?
  • Would you consider becoming a "life mentor" to someone on the Coursera Community? This is NOT the same idea as a course mentor. You would give "life coaching" advice to support someone during their personal learning journey (whatever it may be). Think of it more as someone who mentors you throughout high school, college, or a job.
  • How has learning changed your life?
  • If you put together a "getting started" guide on Coursera, what would you include and why?
We're hoping to communicate to the world why and how to pursue learning.

Your responses to this thread could be included in our final Make-a-thon demo! Stay tuned for more details :)

p.s. I'm on the Teaching & Learning team, where we help empower our partners to create engaging learning experiences. So great to share this project idea with you all!

19 replies

Hi @Kara-Coursera . This is quite the complex post so I will only answer some of your questions and hope others respond further.
Learning is living. Every day we live, we learn. Learning makes people happy! 😀Just look at a baby who first learns how to communicate and the joy is evident! When one of my sons first said the word “ball” he couldn’t stop saying this and holding up a ball.
As a music teacher I have had the pleasure of watching someone learn to play an instrument. When that first song was successfully played it was as if a special gift had been given. The feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment when you learn something is simply wonderful!

There are many things you want a learner to know when “getting started”.
Here are some ideas, but there are much more I am sure others can add.

First you want to see who your Instructors and Mentors are. You need to tell learners who a Mentor is and how he or she can help. A learner is not alone. There is a support system in place. If there is a problem about the course then the Mentor would be able to help. For most other problems such as technical or financial, the Help Center is available. First search the articles to see if your question is already there. If not you can reach a person through “live chat “.

Introduce yourself on the discussion forums and greet other learners already there.

Check out everything you need to do. Read over the requirements, see how many weeks there are, what the topics are, what the assignments are. Getting an overview will help keep you focused.

Check out the forums. Read what others have discussed. Learn what all the icons in the “reply” box are, how to post a link or a photo or a video, what all those icons mean. Press the icon of someone who posted to see other posts they have made.
Learn how to follow or unfollow a thread you like.Learn how to start a thread. Get involved in discussions.
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Thank you, @Judith! I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and insights🙂

I think that, to us learners and Courserians, we see the value of learning and education every day. However, there are so many people I know in my personal life and that I meet around the world that don't quite see the benefit of learning or what it can do for them, their community, their life. I'm hoping we can craft a message for people who aren't sure whether to commit to learning or not ... it can be uncomfortable when you're first starting out. I love your statements about, "Learning is living" and the analogy to your kids growing up by learning.

Great ideas for the "Starter Kit," thank you!
People don’t always understand that learning doesn’t have to be traditional.They often equate learning with schools. But Coursera has something unique and different to offer, courses people never may have thought existed. Some of these should be highlighted. Go through the list and find some, saying something like, “You could learn about your pet’s behavior..or learn to find happiness, learn to draw, learn about why the Beatles wrote some of their songs, learn about fashion trends...” The vast array of courses offered can stimulate everyone. People have no idea of the kinds of courses they can take here. There should be some way of exciting people to the varying potentials offered.
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  • Why do you think learning is important?
  • I think that learning is important because it allows people to make sense of the world around them, as well as give them tools needed for life and success.
  • Which course(s) inspires you and why?
  • I think that the Intro to Classical Music, Learning how to Learn, and Science Of Well-Being courses inspire me to seek the interesting in every situation. For example, I have now seen how people can often follow "more popular" people even though they may have thought that they were making their own decisions. I also now notice chord progressions in music. I have also learned important strategies to learn about something even though it may not be interesting.
  • Would you consider becoming a "life mentor" to someone on the Coursera Community? This is NOT the same idea as a course mentor. You would give "life coaching" advice to support someone during their personal learning journey (whatever it may be). Think of it more as someone who mentors you throughout high school, college, or a job.
  • I would consider being a "life mentor" in order to help them understanding the value of learning and support them in their setbacks.
  • How has learning changed your life?
Learning has given me a fun and interesting way to look at the world (even though, in my opinion, learning is basically a very slow and inefficient way to download data into your brain and manipulate it).
On ‘Life Mentor’

It could be highly dangerous to let someone who has not trained as a psychologist and sociologist tell others how to lead their life properly as a ‘life’ coach. Btw, this was originally a ‘learn’ mentor., which could also be a serious problem unless the person is a trained educator for online learning, I think.
I would personally dread to have someone tell me, while I am simply taking a course, say in meteorology, to go outside and smell the flowers, get some tea, go to bed on time, take notes in a different way, not to eat crisps while watching a video lecture. And presumably, once I finish the course I will be told to continue with another one. The best advice here is probably: take the course Learning how to Learn...
Hi @Kara-Coursera,

Thank you for inviting us to participate in your project.


Our Make-a-thon project is called "Coursera for Everyone." We are creating a landing page to share: why education is important, real learner stories, career opportunities, and how to get started on Coursera no matter your education background or job experience.

Want to get involved in a Coursera Make-a-thon project? Respond to one (or all) of the questions below!

  • Why do you think learning is important?



Learning is undoubtedly important due to a lot of logical reasons. It's good for the brain, memory, and health in general. Many people do appreciate that learning new skills can empower them and help them expand their horizons. However, considering that you're creating a landing page, I would not limit the value of learning to logical reasons. A landing page should be persuading and persuasion is not all about evoking a rational reaction in visitors.

In my experience as an educator, people do tend to respond to emotional aspects of education and learning as well. In other words, when you attach the abstract value of learning to something more tangible and concrete, students are more likely to get involved. For example, teenagers may well understand that learning will make them more knowledgeable. But there's often another underlying reason that pushes them into committing themselves into it. Being a knowledgeable person and getting good grades could underscore their coolness and smartness. Their parents would award them. Their school classmates would adore them. Thus, in my example, this feeling of satisfaction is the actual goal.

Based on my introductory words, here are my thoughts and suggestions:

"Coursera for Everyone" obviously means you're targeting people from all age groups, genders, and educational backgrounds. So your page cannot solely focus on the career benefits of courses because this will merely attract the workforce. High school students, housewives, and retired people also will need to feel that you have something for them. They need to realize that taking a course could enrich their lives.

To persuade people to take your courses, you'll have to attach the value of online learning to something more emotional and tangible. You could, for instance, share a photo of a 15-year-old student who is happily showing his certificate to his school classmates. Or you may share a photo of a grandfather who is proudly talking about his Coursera experience at a family gathering. Visitors of your page would get convinced that taking Coursera courses could bring about more happiness (😐---> ☺), proudness (😐--->😊), satisfaction (😐---> 😌), and coolness (😐---> 😎).
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On ‘Life Mentor’

It could be highly dangerous to let someone who has not trained as a psychologist and sociologist tell others how to lead their life properly as a ‘life’ coach. Btw, this was originally a ‘learn’ mentor., which could also be a serious problem unless the person is a trained educator for online learning, I think.


Great point, and definitely top-of-mind for us, @Lochcarron! Thanks for pointing this out. We don't quite have the right language yet, (e.g. learning mentor, study buddy, etc.) and we are mindful of health and legal implications. This is why we wanted to ask you all about it first 🙂

However, we at Coursera have seen SO much amazing support from course Mentors and learners like you -- how you participate in the Community and course forums is incredibly beneficial to many people around the world. There's more we can do here, but we're still thinking through the strategy.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!
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Thank you everyone for participating!! You helped us shape our ideas for our Coursera 4 Everyone Make-a-thon project.

We created a mock-up of a web page that explains to the world "why Coursera is for everyone." We start with learner stories, explain why education is so impactful, and link to community resources so people know how to be successful in their learning pursuits.

Thank you again for your help!


@Kara-Coursera thank you for sharing the results with us. It looks amazing, so professional and alluring.
I like saying Coursera is for “everyone “. This is something that should appeal to everyone.
I also love your name, how it rhymes with Coursera, LOL.
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Hello @Kara-Coursera and everyone,

I guess I am late to this party! Everyone already shared almost what I would have liked to say as well and the results are already published!

I would like to add on the "life mentor" topic: I think it's a great idea. Being around Coursera since its early days, I have been acting as such in some ways for several people in addition to being a course mentor. Some students who have been very shy to discuss certain topics on the forums, managed to trace me privately and shared their opinions, asking my advice. It's been such a pleasure and privilege to be able to help in that way. Some of them went onto doing postgraduate degrees with the help of the courses they've taken in Coursera.

However, I also understand the point @Lochcarron raised in terms of the dangers of life mentors... I had counselor training background and experience outside Coursera and have been volunteering as such in my environment already for many years. So, my experience and background helped me to help some of the students. Perhaps, you could have some selection criteria before you appoint such life mentors. Not just based on their background but also observe them in their responses for a while and see how they respond in the forums.

Sometimes, people might have certain background in this field but they may still be highly negative and discouraging when they give advise as well. If you could manage to find a way to monitor them somehow, perhaps giving a prominent advice to the person who is connecting with a life mentor, something like: "if they find something inappropriate or highly negative in the response of the life mentor (which may be private) then to flag it or report it to the managers of the community", which might help perhaps? Another way may be, one person to be connected to more than one life mentor, to share and exchange ideas for different perspectives, which might also act as monitoring to a degree...

If others have more ideas to monitor life coaching, please feel free to share as well.
@Denise
I think @Kara-Coursera explained that it is more a 'study buddy' than a mentor type thing
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Thank you, @Judith! I didn't realize my name rhymed with Coursera, haha! Love it 🙂

Yes, @Lochcarron is correct @Denise -- we were exploring what other support systems could look like on Coursera with this Make-a-thon project. "Buddy system" is more aligned to the intention; we don't want to promote health or psychology advice through the community for obvious reasons. But I know there's lots of support that can happen just by sharing your experiences, giving pointers, and have a cheerleader on the side while you go through your learning journey. We'll see where this goes!

I'm glad you all liked the photo of our project; there was a design mock-up for the website page as well and a lot of fun print-outs. Somebody said that Coursera Make-a-thon is like Coursera "Science fair," and it really does have the feel to it! But with awesome adults doing awesome things 😉

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, everyone!
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Thank you for the clarification @Kara-Coursera . Course mentors and classmates are a bit like "study buddy" already in the forums. So, I was just trying to say that with certain precautions you could still have a bit more than study buddy, I suppose, as well. In any case, whichever form it turns out, wishing you all the very best with it. 🙂
@Judith

‘I like saying Coursera is for “everyone “. ‘

There are some countries that are excluded because of US export sanctions, of course
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  • Why do you think learning is important?
The wielding is constantly changing and as long as one lives you must learn to adapt to the world around you. That involves learning new things. Whether it’s how to use the latest technology or reading up on advances in medicine, you have to be willing to learn .

  • Which course(s) inspires you and why?
I’m inspired most by courses which required me to learn about different cultures or to think about solving current problems in new ways. Any course which encourages people to become entrepreneurs motivates me to do more.
  • Would you consider becoming a "life mentor" to someone on the Coursera Community? This is NOT the same idea as a course mentor. You would give "life coaching" advice to support someone during their personal learning journey (whatever it may be). Think of it more as someone who mentors you throughout high school, college, or a job.
I would love to be a life mentor to someone who is uncertain about life during their time of learning here within the community. I understand how important it is to have a great support system to give you that little nudge when you needed it .
  • How has learning changed your life?
My education has been a Godsend for me. It’s been the one constant I can depend on . If all else fails i have the determination it takes to learn something new if it’s required to advance to the next level in my journey.
  • If you put together a "getting started" guide on Coursera, what would you include and why?
I think the most important to put in is there is no right time to get started . It’s never too late to learn the skills or knowledge you’ve always wanted to know. Invest in yourself and Go for it!
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Hi Kara,
Sorry to respond so late, I hope my answer is still useful.

  • Why do you think learning is important?
If "Cogito, ergo sum" (by Rene Descartes), then learning is one of the key ways to increase my being, i.e. my life and consciencious living.
Of course, learning is essential to material opportunities (work, career, money) but on a deeper level it's what I said in the beginning, it's a growth of one's personality.

  • Which course(s) inspires you and why?
I mostly use Coursera for professionally-focused courses, and also study at HEC Paris MSIE program delivered through Coursera. I've had many good courses, but if I had to choose, maybe this one comes to mind: Boosting Creativity and Innovation. It is engaging and really opened up my mind to what is means to be creative and look for innovative solutions around me, even if I am not a "creative" person in a conventional sense.

  • Would you consider becoming a "life mentor" to someone on the Coursera Community? This is NOT the same idea as a course mentor. You would give "life coaching" advice to support someone during their personal learning journey (whatever it may be). Think of it more as someone who mentors you throughout high school, college, or a job.
YES. Provided I have time and the mentee is really willing, I'd love to try this!

  • How has learning changed your life?
It gave me the world.

  • If you put together a "getting started" guide on Coursera, what would you include and why?
Will have to think on that one for a bit. Currently Coursera seems so intuitive and easy.

Warm wishes from Europe!
Leo
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Thank you, @Leo St.!
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Hi Kara, dear! This is Amparo from Texas. I have been with Coursera since April of 2013 and still alive and kickin' and breathin' Coursera in my daily life. Sad, I got some vision difficulties that make me slow down. However, I could NOT STOP my bubbling interests in your intriguing concerns:

1.Why do you think learning is important?
For me, Learning is FOREVER and is very important in order to gallop significantly with CHANGE. Every seconds of our lives, demands adjustments to change; making good righteous choices based on our experiences and lessons absorbed by our whole being mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
If we stop learning, life is halted ....or as if life is ended abruptly.

2.Which courses inspire youand why?
Courses about Art, Graphic Designs, Music, Poetry, Health and Culture really inspire me.
Why? I like to endlessly challenge myself learning about them. These courses make me laugh
and enjoy creating new skills tremendously .

3.Would you consider becoming a "life mentor" to someone on the Coursera community?
I would love to. Why not? How do I prepare myself for this wonderful chance of my lifetime?

4.How has learning changed your life?
Learning made me discover my precious and unique identity and made me also utilize my GIFTS from GOD Almighty.
Learning concretized the glorious purposes of why I am created.

5.If you put together a "getting started" GUIDE on Coursera what would you include and why?
A Pre-test on the course maybe . And a Post test after the learning activities.
In that way, there will be a baseline before the start of learning and then a self comparison of learning results after.

Love you all! Cheers!
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Thank you for sharing your perspective, @Mariquit! No updates about "life mentoring" yet, still just an idea we're playing with the idea.

Great suggestions overall, much appreciated! 🙂

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