This morning we added a new MOOC / online course platform from Oregon State University and their Professional and Continuing Education department. In all, they have over 130 exciting courses.
OSU expands our existing subjects in the fields of management, business, and computer science, but what I'm most excited about in their catalog are the courses they offer in subjects most other platforms haven't really built yet.
At the time of writing, their exciting library includes:
- 5 courses on beer and cider production (one of which is an in-person hop farm tour)
- 15+ courses on the environment and sustainability
- 15+ about E-learning design and management
- 20+ courses on gardening
A small sampling of OSU's courses are free. Most are very affordable.
Let's take a closer look at what OSU has to offer.
The Master Gardener Series
Gardeners and aspiring gardeners should have a look at the eight-course Master Gardener Online Short Course Series. The series starts with Basic Botany, a free course that introduces its students to the very basics of identifying different plants, the different parts of a plant, and non-plant relatives like fungi, moss, and fern.
Past that, the seven other courses ($20 each) dive deep into topics covering pest management, soils and fertilizers, vegetable and container gardening, landscaping, and more.
Gardening is one of the most accessible hobbies that you can get into whether you live on a farm or in the confines of an urban apartment (there's an entire segment devoted to indoor gardening). If you're looking for something fun and hands-on to learn in 2017, this series of online courses is just what you need to get into!
One book that's made a lasting impact on my habits, especially when it comes to consumption and waste, is Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash, which I first heard about on NPR. It jolted me awake about the amount of waste humans produce daily, the sheer amounts of material we discard each day, most of which end up in places they shouldn't. Most of the waste we create shouldn't be waste at all.
Even if you're not a die-hard environmentalist tree-hugger, you should be concerned. Waste creates costs along the entire supply chain (and beyond) and needlessly takes from our limited natural resources.
Don't be fooled by its title. OSU's eight-course series, Recycling 101, does indeed focus on recycling. But it's also an examination of waste, consumption, and our burden on the environment:
Modeled after the successful Master Recycler program, this online, self-paced course trains you in waste reduction, composting and residential and commercial recycling. You'll complete this eight-part course with the tools to help you save money, resources and energy and reduce your environmental footprint.
Start a Craft Brewing Company Here
This is one of the more unique offerings I've seen in an online course, if not one of the more expensive ones. Completing this course, Beer Quality and Analysis Series and its associated hop farm tour will set you back about $2,500. You'll also have to get yourself to Oregon to complete the four day on-campus component and set aside one day for the tour.
You've gotta be pretty serious about brewing your own to enroll, but if you do enroll, make sure you come back to OpenCourser and submit your review on the course.
Here's what the instructors have to say:
With one of the top fermentation science research programs in the world, Oregon State University is proud to offer a comprehensive series of world-class beer brewing science courses for professional and advanced hobbyist brewers [...]
Our Beer Quality and Analysis Series of online and onsite courses teaches you the fundamentals of basic microbiology and its role in the brewing process, and gives you the tools to analyze and evaluate beer to influence quality control in a production brewing setting.
Part of the course fees will cover a brewers dinner that features beer from a number of local breweries where you’ll learn why Oregon is home to so many beer enthusiasts.
This course is offered in sessions (annually, it seems for now). Courses start in May with the on-site portions taking place in mid-June.
Passionate about crafting your own beers? Better start planning your calendar now!
You can enroll in the courses discussed in this post here: