Tonawanda News

Features

September 30, 2012

DELUCA: The freedom to learn

(Continued)

Tonawanda News —

They’re called “Massive Online Open Courses,” or MOOCs for short, and the reason for the name is that if you enroll, you may have hundreds of thousands of classmates from all over the world.

From what I read online, including student reviews, the classes are not easy, but they’re designed to be engaging and there are quizzes repeatedly to make sure everyone is keeping up. 

Nobody knows if there’s money to be made here. Some schools may be offering a certificate of completion for each class for a fee, and some are cautious to say that you won’t be able to get a full degree for free online. But when I emailed a representative from Coursera she told me this: “The aim of Coursera is to bring education to the world, regardless of factors such as socioeconomic status or geographic location. By providing free access to world-class professors, we’re creating opportunities for people who may never have had access to higher education to learn alongside students at some of the top institutions in the world.”

The Coursera platform is also being used by universities to enhance learning on campus.

But, the bottom line is this concept is world changing. People everywhere can choose to learn. And all the top schools are signing on.

Students won’t be able to get a degree that way. But, imagine how proud you’d be, or I’d be, if we were able to complete a tough class given by a Harvard professor.

And think about how good that completed class is going to look on your resume. 

My sons are both saddled with thousands in college debt. And I think every dollar was well spent. As my mom always said, education is never wasted.

But college education is getting more prohibitive each year. Like health care, the cost of an advanced degree keeps rising. But in one fell swoop the Internet has leveled the playing field. 

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Features
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    Sara Johnson lives surrounded by green and growing things. Showing a visitor around her apartment in North Buffalo, she pointed out the plants in every room, the balcony and even in two small greenhouses — houseplants, flowers, vegetables, even carnivorous plants.

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    Another goal of hers is to show others how to do the same — and to that end, Johnson is offering a series of workshops this summer in connection with her business, Sylvatica Terrariums, and Project 308 Gallery in North Tonawanda, teaching people how to bring a piece of the outdoors into their homes in the form of a terrarium or other greenery.

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    I think it’s true of many parents, that amidst the many challenges and hard work of parenting, we anticipate the day our children grow up just enough ... to like the same things we like, whether it’s as an ongoing phenomenon or a fond childhood memory.

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    Did you know that the suffix “vore” comes from the Latin word “voro,” which means to devour? I probably knew that once, but I should have paid better attention in my Latin class. “Vore” is used to form nouns indicating what kind of a diet an animal has, such as omnivore, carnivore and herbivore.

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    When Explore Buffalo Tours got started about eight months ago, the business concentrated on specialized tours designed to showcase specific aspects of the City of Buffalo’s history, architecture and culture.

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     Following a trend of public, outdoor exercise programs, a number of local venues are offering their own free events aiming to get residents outside and active during the summer.

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    For years, Muscoreil’s Fine Desserts & Gourmet Cakes has been a go-to location for desserts and wedding and occasion cakes in Western New York.

    This summer, even as the bakery deals with the rush of wedding season, changes at its associated bistro aim to create a revitalized focus on that side of the business, as well.

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    The options when you escort your child to a birthday party are endless, really. Everywhere you turn, there’s another thrill to uncover.

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