Where did you learn that?

I mark the hours, every one, Nor have I yet outrun the Sun. My use and value, unto you, Are gauged by what you have to do.

Inscription on Hermione Granger’s borrowed Time-Turner

Ask most adolescents where they learned a certain skill, and a fair few of them will say, ‘Oh, YouTube!’

I’m the same. Most of the skills I’ve acquired in Photoshop or After Effects have been garnered from YouTube. And from play – there’s a lot to be gained from simply clicking buttons to see what they do.

Of course, there are alternatives to YouTube, and in this post, I will be touching on two of them. In another post, I will explore all the criminally-overlooked courses offered by software behemoths such as Microsoft (via Microsoft’s Education Centre) and Adobe (via Adobe Education Exchange), but today I’d like to focus on two course providers that are well worth your time.

Udemy is an online learning and teaching marketplace with over 150,000 courses and 40 million students. The range of topics to explore is overwhelming – everything from programming to cake-decorating! My family and I are planning to head over to South Korea for our next big adventure; as you can see from the screenshot below, I’m planning to learn Korean before we go.

Udemy’s courses range from beginner to advanced levels so ‘students’ will certainly find a course that is suited to their skills and ambitions. The eclectic nature of Udemy’s offerings distinguish it from other course vendors such as Skillshare or Pluralsight.

Udemy frequently offers courses for free or nominal amounts. I’m not sure if this is to attract new customers, to generate buzz or it’s a random act of kindness, but I now have so many courses, I plan to change my diet so I can live long enough to complete them.

A few years ago when History was added to my teaching load, I felt a burning need to know more than I did. Panic is a great motivator. I stumbled across a fifty lecture series provided by The Great Courses. In this course ‘The History of Ancient Rome’ presented by Professor Garratt Fagan, I was taken back to my university days and I loved it. In fact, I was a lot more reliable in attending to this course’s content than I was when I physically attended university. Since that time, I have undertaken a host of courses. Currently, I am studying ‘The Great Trials of World History and the Lessons They Teach Us’ facilitated by Professor Douglas O. Linder. Do I need this to teach History? Probably not. The panic has long since subsided. But the thing is that The Great Courses continue to send me emails containing ridiculous discounts on courses, and I have no self-control when I see a bargain.

To illustrate my lack of restraint…

Yesterday, I received an offer from StackSkills – in a moment of weakness I handed over US$75 and I now have access to literally hundreds of courses. I have already started one on Notion, and feel I’ve already justified my purchase – more on Notion in another post.

Now all I need to purchase is a Time-Turner to find time to learn all this stuff. I wonder if they sell those on Amazon?

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