How MOOCs Prepare Your Parents For College

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ― Benjamin Franklin

So you’re a senior of the class of 2014. It’s April and you’ve gotten your acceptance letters and have decided on where you will continue your education. A good mix of you have parents who went to college and many still who have not. Either way parents like to imagine they are experts on their children and everything that involves them. Well, unless your parents are college professors or are matriculating full time at University, they are probably giving you advice about college that is, shall we say, dated…

Regardless, what remains in your noggin might be a question about what is it like to be a student in college in 2014. Asking recent grads is like asking a returning veteran what combat is like. He or she can tell you but you won’t really understand. So how can you prepare yourselves?

The answer is the MOOC.

I know what you’re thinking….”a what?”

A MOOC. A massive open online course.

There are hundreds of them, proctored by the finest learning institutions in the world. These are courses that have been recorded on video, posted to the web, and are set up on websites that contain syllabuses, course curricula, exams, books, and all the other things a student needs to successfully learn. What’s great about them is that you get the same quality knowledge from world class professors for free, wherever you choose to learn. Some allow you to register and take exams and receive a certificate of completion, but that’s not required for what I am suggesting today.

If you want to get your parents to understand what you are experiencing while away at college I suggest you take a MOOC together. And I recommend the Game Theory course at Yale provided by OpenYale.

Yale Game Theory MOOC

Here you can see there are links to the course syllabus, sessions, survey and books. Click on “SESSIONS” and you’ll find a list of videos of 24 lectures and 2 exams. Go ahead and click on the first one. Within the lectures you will find blackboard notes and handouts. Look at the size of the class. Listen to the teacher and what he’s saying…his expectations, requirements, experience.

Can you and your parents make it through the first video? Can they make it through the first dozen? How about all?

As a student you want to get as much support you can get. The less worry or obstacles or demands you have upon you then better the environment for you to learn. Having your parents understand exactly what you are experiencing will make them more apathetic to your needs. Some of them may actually realize that maybe making you travel home on a bus for 16 hours because Aunt Beatrice is coming for a visit from Florida isn’t the best use of your time. Or maybe you won’t get grief about attending the big game because they realize you probably need to blow off some steam.

In the future, when you become leaders you will have understood the value of both being heard, as well as listening to and understanding the needs of those you lead.

Go ahead. Check out a MOOC.

Get your future started today!