I’ve been busy lately. I started taking a few online classes that I am really excited about. I never realized how many amazing, free learning opportunities there were on the Internet until I resigned from my teaching position and had to start searching for a new career!
First, I learned about EdX.org. It features legitimate online courses through accredited Universities and higher education institutions from around the world. You can audit most of the classes for free, or choose to pay for a certificate of completion. Even if you choose to pay, it’s still much cheaper than the cost of attending a University. There are also course to help you prepare for AP and CLEP exams, earn college credits, and advance your career. It’s a pretty amazing resource that I highly recommend, whether you want to broaden your skill set or are just interested in learning more about a specific topic! I have been taking a coding class, learning about processing.js at my own pace, going back to review lessons when I need to. It has been fascinating and has definitely helped improve my resume.
Another excellent resource for coding is Codecademy. This has been my favorite program for learning coding so far. I have taken the HTML&CSS course and am working my way “up the ladder” of coding, so to say. It is easy to use and follow, and it keeps me engaged by having me perform the coding, building a website — or whatever project it is teaching you to create — along the way. It makes it seem so simple that I feel like a genius, even though I am FAR from being able to do any legitimate coding at this point!
I also started participating in email lessons through Highbrow. You choose something you want to learn about — anything from SEO marketing to history to pop culture — and each day they deliver a short lesson to your inbox. It takes me 5 minutes at most to read the lesson each day and makes me feel just a little smarter every time! It’s almost like an enhanced version of a word-a-day calendar.
Lastly, the only online course I have been taking that I paid for is a Master Class taught by James Patterson. Yes, the James Patterson. The #1 best-selling author with the Guinness Book World Record for selling the most e-books. I started the course last week and am able to go at my own pace, which for me – of course – is lightning speed. Because I get way too excited about this sort of thing. This course has drastically improved my writing skills already. I have been trying to write a novel for YEARS now. Yes, YEARS. Taking this course helped me figure out why I was never able to finish any of my ideas…because I didn’t make an outline. I didn’t develop my characters. I didn’t push the plot forward. I am now closer than ever to completing the first outline of my first novel. Once I finish that outline, I will refine and improve it, then I will write the story. Once I finish the outline, there is no way I won’t complete the final draft. And of course my next goal will be to get it published.
I don’t know if that will happen. It seems very unlikely. But I am so excited at the prospect!
The Master Class and James Patterson are also holding a competition for class participants. We are able to submit the plot and a summary of our novel and Mr. Patterson will pick one lucky author to co-author a book with him. Um, PLEASE PICK ME!!
As much as I would LOVE for the opportunity to work with such a prolific author, I am just enjoying this opportunity to learn from him and grow as a writer. Hopefully that will start coming through in my blog posts!