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Courses Any advice for adult learners, or learning from online courses?

  1. Jan 17, 2012 #1
    Hi all,

    My mom has always wanted to go back to school, but could not due to work and having to take care of the family. I recently showed her some free online courses offered by Stanford, and she's expressed interest in two of them: Anatomy http://www.anatomy-class.org/ and Model Thinking http://www.modelthinker-class.org/ [Broken].

    There are three main points I hope to get some help with:

    1) I'm hoping to help her transition back into the role of a student. Would anyone of you have any advice regarding this? Anything from personal anecdotes, to articles on adult learning, to general advice on how to read a textbook or listen to a lecture are all greatly appreciated. Actually, what might be very useful would be a book on how to be an effective student (if one exists).

    2) I think this forum is great and it will definitely be of use to my mom if she needs help. Are there any other forums similar to this one out there? I want to make sure my my mom has somewhere to turn to if she needs help with her work.

    3) I believe my mom likes the interactive structure and organization of those Stanford classes. I've looked online and most of the other free online courses are not as complete or interactive (particularly the MIT OpenCourseWare ones). Although I really do not care about the brand name of the institution offering the courses, it seems like the more prestigious ones do have better offerings. Harvard has a limited selection but they are good, Yale also has a few. Are there any schools I have overlooked which offer free online courses of similar quality?

    I know I asked a mouthful, but going back to school has always been something that my mom wanted to do. She can't fully retire yet but with these online courses, she doesn't have to wait. So once again, any advice on any of these questions are greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot in advance.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 17, 2012 #2


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    It sounds like she'd benefit most from an actual in-person class. Is there a community college nearby, where she could take a class?

    It's great that you're researching this for your mom! I understand the pressures on her to take care of the family - for parents, it never seems there is any time to do anything for themselves. So she would never "ask" if she could take time away from them to do something she would enjoy. But maybe the family should start to take care of mom, too o:), and insist mom take some time for her own interests - or give it as a gift?
  4. Jan 18, 2012 #3

    Thanks for the reply. Taking an in-person class might provide some benefits, but at the moment, it's not an option given the nature of my mom's work. She also enjoys online courses because they allow her to move at her own pace, and because they allow her to stop or repeat lectures videos in the middle. When she does retire though, in-person classes will certainly be an option she will explore.
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