Is Coursera Worth My Time?

So, as some of you may have seen in my last post, I am taking a couple of classes on Coursera. I wanted to discuss the pros and cons of Coursera and what my thoughts are on the classes I am taking. Here is a list of what I am currently taking:
– Fashion as Design (MOMA)
– Sustainable Fashion (Copenhagen Business School)
– Chinese Culture and Contemporary China (Nanjing University)

Pros:
– You can take classes from all over the world.
– You do not have to pay for the classes.
-You can pay for classes to get a certificate to benefit your skill set but it is not necessary.
-You can go at your own pace, some have hard deadlines, but normally you can reset the due date.

Cons:
-Not all the classes are as informative as you would like. Continue reading through each of my classes to see my thoughts on them.
-You don’t get to be in person with people. I do not find this to be a negative but I know that some people thrive with in-person interaction.

Fashion as Design (MOMA)
Currently on week 5 of this class. I first found out about this class through an article about free classes by MOMA on Coursera. Naturally, I wanted to see what they were offering and found Fashion as Design. As a costume designer, this seemed like a perfect class for me as I wanted to expand my knowledge in modern fashion. I have enjoyed the class. It is the longest time commitment of all three classes. I think that they do a great job of conveying information that they have and also showing you prime examples of those who are in the fashion industry.

I appreciate the quizzes that they offer to act as a refresher for the information you learn. Most recently, I learned about the end of life cycle and working towards sustainable means to an end. The conversation led to figuring out how a garment starts from raw materials and how the fashion industry is aiming to change the waste they are creating through their core business model or startups entering into the fashion industry with sustainability already in mind. They also go into the history of certain garments and movements that have shifted the way we as society dress today.

I truly appreciate the insight. I think that they work nicely to really show you a wide lens overall and then zoom in on specific examples that support their teaching. I think they are the most well-rounded class with videos, articles, written essays, interviews, etc.

Sustainable Fashion (Copenhagen Business School)
I am currently on week 5. This class generally takes me 1.5-2 hours to complete every week. I have become an eco-conscious advocate since moving to NYC. Knowing I would be staying here for a long time made me realize that I wanted to continue my sustainability journey, especially in fashion where we waste so much. I have loved finding out about different brands, specifically those overseas as the are more advanced in ways of sustainability when it comes to fashion. I feel as though the US is still working towards it but is behind.

They have more videos than they do articles but I find that to be extremely helpful for me since I am a visual learner. I also feel that they can better show their ways of sustainability by bringing us with them to factories and interviews. My favorite brands that I have learned more-indepthly about are MUD Jeans, G-Star Raw, and TOMS. Other such as Lush, Patagonia, Everlane, etc. have been mentioned in this class as well.

Overall, this class is exciting and I enjoy learning about more ways to be more eco-conscious when I purchase clothing items. You can tell that the experts of this class are reading off of a script but it is informed and gives you insight to what you are getting into. As of today, I have been aiming my purchases at places such as Poshmark, ThredUP, and other secondhand stores online since we are still in quarantine.

Chinese Culture and Contemporary China (Nanjing University)
I am currently on week 3. This class can be easily done within 30 minutes or less. Unfortunately, this is probably my least favorite class. It feels the most scripted to the point where I can see that the experts are excited to speak but they are just giving us the bare minimum of information. Each class only takes a one-sided page when I take notes. I really wanted them to go into more information but they give you almost glossary level definitions. They try to have an engaged conversation with each other but they know what they are talking about so it just seems stilted and almost robotic.

Most recently, I was learning about Chinese music but they didn’t go into any of the traditional Chinese instruments, just a brief history of how we transitioned to modern Chinese music. I think that this class has a lot left to be desired. The videos are a good length but there is hardly any substantial information that I couldn’t get from a quick google search.

How do I Keep Myself on Track?
Currently, I have assigned each class to a specific day, Tues-Thurs to keep it in the middle of the week. In quarantine, this is giving me something to look forward to every week. I block out the time between 1pm-5pm. Sometimes I wake up early enough and feel ready to take on the day that I do it right when I get up. Usually, I have lunch and then take on the class of the day. When I have articles I need to read, I will put on some lo-fi music on Youtube or playlist from my spotify.

Will I continue to take more classes?
Most definitely. I feel that there is a lot to be gained from these classes. I am excited to maybe learning Chinese and seeing what other fashion-based classes are out there for me to take a grasp on. I might also take a finance class to see how I can start a retirement fund because that is confusing to me. We will see.

I hope that this was helpful for you! I am sure there is a class out there that peaks your interest and I recommend taking it if you can!

Talk soon,
Tiffany

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