MOOC: For Those Interested In Learning About Reason And Argumentation
A fairly recent development in the online world is the creation of MOOCs — Massive Open Online Courses. These are university level courses provided by university professors and staff for free to the public over the internet. I found out about this new development a few months ago and have completed one course offered by the University Of Toronto on introductory programming in Python via Coursera and have a second course close to completion on interactive programming in Python offered through Coursera by Rice University. I’m also working my way through another course from Harvard University, a general introduction to computer science, offered through a different outfit called Edx.
Some courses will provide a certificate of completion if you complete and pass the course (different criteria depending on course). The certificate holds no official status or weight in terms of accreditation from the institutions, but would be something worth a resume or C.V. mention, at least. The main advantage is that you get the opportunity to learn material from university professors and institutions as they would teach to their fee paying students — for free! Lectures are provided each week via video recordings and different forms of evaluation are possible from machine testing (computer grading) to peer review.
Given the recent interest in my piece on slippery slope arguments, thanks to a Tweet from Stephen Fry pointing to it, I thought it might be helpful to mention a MOOC that has just started a week ago on reason and argumentation through Coursera — “Think Again: How to Reason and Argue.” I’m not enrolled in the course, so I can’t speak to the specifics, but a cursory glance shows that it resembles most introductory university level courses on the subject given through Philosophy departments. For those who might wish to increase their understanding of the subjects of fallacies, reason and argumentation it looks to be well worth the time and effort.