Come MOOC With Me, The Best Is Yet To Be

Come MOOC With Me, The Best Is Yet To Be

posted in: Essays | 26

Would you like to learn archaeology’s dirty little secrets?

The best place to start is a MOOC.

Almost every major university now offers free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

The most popular MOOC platforms include Coursera, EdX, and Udacity. Class Central is a MOOC aggregator, basically a huge internet course catalog. It’s a Renaissance Soul’s dream.

And according to the Boston Globe,

…some of the world’s top educators are extolling MOOCs as a phenomenon that could transform the lives of people unable to attend top colleges in person, including young people in Third World villages, American working moms, and restless retirees.

Gigaom speculates that MOOCs might eventually lead to truly affordable, legitimate online degrees. I’m so excited about the possibilities that will open up for later bloomers.

Here are some upcoming MOOCs at Coursera alone:

And the one I’m jazzed about, Archaeology’s Dirty Little Secrets with Professor Sue Alcock of Brown University, whose work I studied in graduate school.

Which brings me to a few reasons why, after this Saturday, I only plan to publish every other week for the next several months (unless I have a guest post).

I’m working on two major projects — the second Later Bloomers book and a memoir of my archaeology days.

Come MOOC With Me at LaterBloomer.com
Knockroe passage grave, Co Kilkenny, a site I worked on in 1994

As part of my research, I’ve enrolled in Archaeology’s Dirty Little Secrets to catch up on developments in the field. I want to take it seriously, which means studying 4-6 hours a week. If you’ve ever been vaguely curious about archaeology, come MOOC with me.

There’s another reason I’m cutting back. I’ve just been diagnosed with early chronic kidney disease (CKD) and need to marshal my lifestyle.

I’m actually relieved. I’ve felt unwell for some time, but blamed it on a combination of allergies and menopause.

As with Type II diabetes, my lifestyle choices will go far towards slowing CKD down. I can’t control the odds of getting run over by a bus or hit by lightning, but there’s an excellent chance I can keep myself off dialysis. Treatment includes a low-protein diet, so the current “paleo” craze would actually harm my health.

Come MOOC With Me at LaterBloomer.com
As a late-blooming MA student (age 35) with the Knockroe team in Ireland

I bring this up to encourage everyone to get those regular physicals, especially before starting a diet. This particularly applies to women. CKD and menopause share symptoms — fatigue, brain fog, itchy skin, insomnia — to name common ones. Not everything can be blamed on “the change.”

James Michener, one of my favorite authors, started writing at age 40 and produced a book almost every year until he finally succumbed to CKD at 90. So there you have it — I truly believe the best is yet to be, for MOOCs and for you and for me!

Here’s Professor Alcock with a 90-second lowdown on Archaeology’s Dirty Little SecretsHave you tried any MOOCs yet?

26 Responses

  1. Bob Cloud
    | Reply

    I’m very sorry that that you are having health problems. I’ve never been diagnosed with CKD but I’ve had kidney troubles myself and believe it or not I’m much better now than when I was your age. I’ve also been a gym rat for many years and I believe working out at least three times a week has made the difference, but I was never diagnosed with CKD so that is a different scope of problems. Archeology and Paleontology have always been interesting to me so I will explore the MOOC venue to uncover the “dirties” of them both. Had I known there were dirties I would have done it sooner.
    Again I wish you the best.
    Bob Cloud

    • Debra Eve
      |

      You crack me up, Bob. Thanks for letting me know your experience. You’re absolutely right. Anything that can lessen the drag on the kidneys will slow it down and that includes exercise, which oxygenates the blood and helps the kidneys process toxins. I’ve actually been given a prescription and motivation for extreme good health.

  2. Sandra
    | Reply

    How exciting to be writing and studying something you care so much about. Good for you. I’m sorry to hear about your diagnosis, but it sounds like you have it or will have it under control. Just keep on thinking of Michener. He certainly gave me many hours of joy while reading his books.

    Good luck in all of your new ventures. I’ll be reading when you post.

    • Debra Eve
      |

      Thank you, Sandra. Our generation just devoured Michener. It makes me sad that he’s becoming lost to the present. But he was my writing hero before this, and now even more so!

  3. florence fois
    | Reply

    Debra, sorry for your troubles. You know you will be missed … however … I love that you have made life affirming decisions that not only reduce your health risks and help your current condition … they also feed your brain and soul. Nothing is more important than brain food and to embark on a new college course, and plans for two books … hey … the blogesphere will still be here when you return.

    Much good success and more than that … enjoy every last second !!!

    • Debra Eve
      |

      I’m not going anywhere, Florence! Just slowing down. I still have a day job and limited energy until I get this under control. But I am a HUGE fan of slow — slow food, slow summers, slow blogging (now extra-slow blogging). Thanks for your kind words.

  4. Kassandra Lamb
    | Reply

    What an intriguing title for a course. I love to learn. I’ll have to look into MOOC’s!

    So sorry to hear that your health has not been the best, but I totally get what you mean about actually being happy to have a diagnosis. When I finally was diagnosed with Graves disease (overactive thyroid) I was relieved. It wasn’t my imagination that I was feeling weak and dizzy after all!

    And once you know what’s wrong, then you can work on making it right (or better, at least). Good for you that you’re making it a priority to change your lifestyle and keep the CKD under control!

    • Debra Eve
      |

      I have a few friends with Graves disease, Kassandra (including one who’s only 26, which I understand is unusual), and I know that’s tough. You’re a great inspiration! As you mentioned, I now have guidelines and know what to avoid. Thanks for your support!

  5. David Stevens
    | Reply

    Best wishes for your health and on-going projects, Debra.
    Be good to yourself
    David

    • Debra Eve
      |

      Thank you, David. Your upbeat words and blog are always an inspiration.

  6. K.B. Owen
    | Reply

    Hi, Debra! Sounds like you are off to a new adventure. I’m saddened by the additional challenge you have going on, but I know you will gather what you need and do what you need to do to take care of yourself. You are an amazing lady.

    My prayers and good wishes are with you, and I’m looking forward to hearing more in the months ahead!

    Best,
    Kathy

    • Debra Eve
      |

      Thank you, Kathy. It’s all good. I just feel so relieved that I know what’s going on now. I’m not quitting, just slowing down. I’m a big fan of slow!

  7. Jennette Marie Powell
    | Reply

    I’d never heard of MOOCs, but yours sounds fascinating! Best to you in getting your health issues under control, and in your new undertaking, as well as your writing!

    • Debra Eve
      |

      Thanks for your kind words and support, Jennette. I am so excited about the MOOC movement. It’s becoming impossible for the average person to afford a decent education and this gives me hope. There are many creative writing MOOCs that I haven’t explored, too.

  8. Patricia
    | Reply

    Good luck on your new adventures, Debra. The class sounds like a lot of fun!

    You’ll have to let us know what you “dig” up.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Debra Eve
      |

      Thank you so much, Patricia. There’ll be regular updates!

  9. Daniela
    | Reply

    Condolences on the diagnosis DebraE. And kudos. You’ve produced amazingly, unknowingly pushing against your health current. Who knows where you’ll go, what you’ll do, now you’re in the flow. 🙂 Sending you healing energy.

    • Debra Eve
      |

      Thank you, Daniela. I appreciate it, coming from you. Actually, not knowing what was wrong with me, I kept beating myself up for not being more productive. It’s such a relief and a lesson — don’t assume the worst of yourself.

  10. Lee J Tyler
    | Reply

    Debra,

    I find you quite an inspiration. You find the best view of your situation and find ways to “marshal” the disease rather than allow it to get you down.
    And on top of that, you find additional life-work and someone who has written all of his life after he was diagnosed. What a true inspiration you are. I send you well wishes and good thoughts.
    To answer your question, yes I have taken a course through Coursera and loved it. I didn’t know of the great catalogue link, though. Thank you for that. Can’t wait to hear all of the new developments in archeology that you discover. If you don’t post it, I’ll just buy your book! 😉

    • Debra Eve
      |

      Thanks so much, Lee. I’ve had a bad few days, but hey, two steps forward, etc. This blog, and readers like you, keep me going!

  11. Madeleine Kolb
    | Reply

    Debra, I’m sorry to hear about the chronic kidney disease, but it’s clearly a relief to learn what it is and how you can manage it. As someone who’s been managing Type 2 diabetes for over 10 years by diet and exercise alone, I know that it’s quite possible to do. And I can tell that you’re on the right track.

    When it comes to diet, my mantra is “Substitute, don’t sacrifice.” I give up eating beef about half-way through reading Omnivores’ Dilemma and don’t miss it at all. I’ll take Pacific salmon any day.

    • Debra Eve
      |

      That’s so good to hear, Madeleine. Good for you! I’ve got a few things I need to work on, one of which is cutting back protein. I love Pacific salmon, but no more big old slabs of it!

    • Don Mittelstaedt
      |

      Dear Debra Eve….I am saddened that your health has deteriorated. You have been an inspiration for me, have brought friends back from the past, and rattled a few skeletons from my past. Good skeletons, for the most. This tribute is nat a memorial, because I know you are just beginning to fight!.
      I want to thank you for you blogging about my WW2 documentary “Defeating Bishamon”. We still do not have a major distributer, but at least the DVD is available through me or through Mercedes MaharisProductions. We have it entered in a film festival this October.
      I, too, have taken a health hit, and have moved into an “assisted Living facility”.
      Age has also caught up to me. I will be 94 in about a week. I am trying to keep going until the wheels fall….and prove the doctors wrong. I am also trying to collate all my previous writings into a book, but don’t think I have enough time left on the clock.
      I wish you well. …Don Mittelstaedt

    • Debra Eve
      |

      Finally need assistance at 94, Don? Seriously, you put us all to shame. I’ve been meaning to put up a page about “Defeating Bishamon” on my dad’s blog and will make that a priority. Today would have been his 90th birthday. You’ve got a great writing style. Would you like me to ask around in my writing communities to see if someone can help you? Hang in there!

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