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I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was taking a Harvard course. I want to share with you how you can, too!

Take an Ivy League Course

How have you spent your quarantine time? It’s gone on quite a bit longer than I think any of us could have imagined.

When we were a few months into it, I started getting worried that everyone but me would have cleaned out their closets. So I took a few days and Kon Mari-ed the hell out of mine. I’m happy to report that it is still organized all these many months later. 🙂

I remember someone posting on social media when we were several months into quarantine that if you came out of all of this without a new hobby, job, side hustle, skill, SOMETHING, then you didn’t lack time. You lacked ambition.

I remember this raising quite a stir of reactions. I think the people that were up in arms about it might have been the people who weren’t using their time wisely. 🙂 I tended to agree with the original poster. We may never in our lives have as much time on our hands as we have had this past year.

So what have you done with it? Have you sat around feeling sorry for yourself? Watched and rewatched every show on Netflix? I think there was a time and place for all of that, but we’re a year into this thing, and we have to take control of our time.

We’re not out of the woods yet with this pandemic, and many of us are still limiting our time outside the home, and that may leave you with time to fill. How about expanding your education? How about an Ivy League course?

Take an Ivy League Course

I decided to do just that at the start of this new year. When I was applying to college, I would never have thought to apply to an Ivy League school. I doubt I would have ever gotten in even if I had. 🙂

But online courses have opened up a whole new world, especially during the pandemic, where online learning has become a necessity.

So I started looking into online courses and discovered that there are SO MANY courses you can take online, from Ivy League schools and many other universities, for FREE.

So of course I channeled my inner Elle Woods and applied to Harvard.

Take an Ivy League Course

The platform I chose was edX. The great thing about taking a course from edX is that you can refine your search using several different parameters. You can filter your options by the course subject you are looking for, or by program and degree options, start date, or by the school you’re interested in.

Since I knew I wanted to take a Harvard course, I used the school filter. The range of schools you can pick from is vast. You can choose from schools like Harvard, The University of Texas, MIT, Georgetown University, University of California Berkeley, Caltech, Brown University, Berklee College of Music, Dartmouth College, Princeton University, Rice University, Wellesley College, and many more.

Subjects you can choose to study include Architecture, Art and Culture, Biology, Computer Science, Chemistry, Math, Engineering, Philosophy, Music, History, and so many more. You can choose to just basically audit the course or you can choose to do the work for a grade. Many courses are self-paced.

I chose to take a course called American Government: Constitutional Foundations offered by the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. I chose to receive a grade in the course.

I chose this course because we were just coming off a contentious election, and I was hearing stuff every day about voter suppression, Constitutional rights, election law, civil liberties, and the like.

I realized that embarrassingly, I didn’t know as much as I thought I should about how our government works. I certainly didn’t want to rely on those clowns in Congress to tell me what the Constitution says and what my rights as a citizen are. We need to know these things for ourselves. Now more than ever.

So I signed up for my 8-week course. I was so excited and nervous to start.

My course was structured as follows:

  • Each week, there were assigned readings. Usually one or more original documents, like a section of the Constitution, or a passage from The Federalist Papers.
  • Then there was a more contemporary piece to read, like a current news piece about the subject matter, like voter suppression laws.
  • And, since with nearly all things to do with the Constitution, there are inevitably lawsuits, we had to read a pertinent court case.
  • There was also weekly reading from the textbook, which happened to have been written by the professor of my course.
  • After completing the readings, we were to watch two lectures. I LOVED this portion of the course each week. My professor was EXCELLENT. And the lectures always started out with him in front of one of our nation’s important monuments, like the Lincoln Memorial. And the music was very “West Wing.” 🙂 He did an outstanding job of explaining the course material.
  • After completing the lectures, there were always two quizzes covering the reading and lecture material.
  • After the courses, there were two discussion questions that we had to answer and post for our fellow classmates to see and/or respond to. Sometimes we were instructed to respond to a specific number of our classmates’ posts.
  • Each week had a self-assessment, where we had to indicate that we had completed each section that week.

Our grades were posted for each week, and our cumulative total.

At the end of the course, there was a writing assignment and a course survey. I am happy to report that I only ever missed two questions on the quizzes, (which made me mad) 🙂 and completed my course with a score of 98%! I was so excited, and I got a certificate to print out showing I had successfully completed my Harvard course.

(You do have to pay a small fee if you want a certificate, and it varies by course. But I did the work and I was GETTING that certificate! 🙂 )

Take an Ivy League Course

I enjoyed my professor so much, and I can now use my learning portal to search for other courses that he teaches, and plan to take more of his courses.

I am so glad that I decided to do this. Firstly, I learned SO MUCH. One thing I learned is just how far removed our form of government has moved from the original vision of the Founders. And not always in a good way.

Secondly, I am a fan of lifelong learning and try to learn at least one new thing each day. This course challenged me and gave me such a sense of accomplishment each week. I was really actually sad when it was over and am looking forward to taking another course.

So if you find yourself with some time on your hands, take charge of your intellectual growth and consider taking a higher learning course. I can fully recommend edX. I am so thrilled I did it, and now I can say I passed a Harvard course with flying colors. What, like it’s hard? 🙂

I’d love to hear if you have expanded your education during all this lockdown time. Please share!

And I’d love for you to follow me on Pinterest!




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