Birthday to me

We have a video of my oldest daughter’s birthday 20+ years ago where my middle daughter insisted on loudly performing “Happy Birthday” as simply “Birthday to you!!”. The phrase has been used in our family probably since then. Since today is “Birthday to me” and I’m 366 days (thank you Leap Year) from the big 6-0, I’m giving myself a big birthday present — edification.

Today is the first of three classes I start this week through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (“OLLI”). The courses are on “War, Politics and Morality in Today’s Conflicts,” African literature and “ISIS and the Arab Spring II.” And Wednesday I start a twice a week, six-week online writing class through the School District’s ed2go program. And if I weren’t glutton enough, over the weekend I started an 11-week, self-paced online University of Virginia class on historical fiction through Coursera. Then, on October 1 (two of my OLLI courses end around then), I’m slated to start another online class through Coursea, an eight-week University of Zurich course called “Spacebooks. An Introduction To Extraterrestrial Literature.”

Each is a new experience for me. I’ve never taken an OLLI class, participated in so-called “distance education” where you have assignments to turn in or a MOOC (“massive open online course”). My total investment (aside from a couple books) is $245, $95 for the online writing course and $150 for an OLLI annual membership. And the latter allows me to take avy of the additional classes it will offer this winter and coming spring for no additional charge.

I’m hoping I’ve not overdone it. But after a couple weeks time shouldn’t be a big issue, something that is the subject of a future post.

Learning is not compulsory; it’s voluntary. Improvement is not compulsory; it’s voluntary. But to survive, we must learn.

W. Edwards Deming, February 1986

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