I couldn’t have chosen a better local course (a Master of Public Policy with the Institute of Public Policy and Management) to learn how governments and societies function. And because I’m the sort who learns better by understanding history, I would often seek out external material for answers. It’s kinda like how you look for the meaning of the meaning of the word you are looking for in the dictionary.
These courses were extremely helpful to understand topics on development and sustainable development, public management and social theories, inequality and society.
So I would like to share the extra free online classes I took to increase my understanding. These were the exceptional and most memorable ones that I would put a finger on and flip to whenever I need it again! And good news, quite a number of these courses are kicking off soon in November! I would say that if you go through these courses, it might just change how you read the news or even a theology book.
The Modern and the Postmodern (Part 1) by Wesleyan College
Although I hadn’t finished all the videos in the course, I covered some Enlightenment thinkers which shaped much of the Western world and thinking. The entire course provides a fascinating overview of Rousseau, Kant, Darwin, Nietzsche and others. Rousseau, Voltaire, Kant and a little bit of Marx was sufficient for me at that time, but would be good to get back to this keeper for more.
This course has allowed me to even understand some discourse on the impact of the Enlightenment on the environment and modernity in a much more structured way. Some books I’m reading that touch on theology also makes so much more sense with this basic foundation of how our modern and post-modern world came about.
I personally find Michael Roth a passionate lecturer, humorous sometimes and easy to relate to, which makes the classes enjoyable.
How to Change the World by Wesleyan College
Another lecture series by Michael Roth, this course sets up a basic overview of the current stage of development and the issues of poverty, urban development, inequality, climate change and so on. Basically it helps to unpack these issues before speaking to specialists (scientists etc) who are involved in the work of change.
Unfortunately, the course page is no longer available and I’m not able to refer back to it when I need, except I think I did manage to download a couple of videos to watch for later (some courses allow that).
The Age of Sustainable Development by Jeffrey Sachs
Oh, I am a huge fan and advocate of sustainable development, which I feel runs parallel to the creation-redemption narrative of the Bible. The sustainable development goals are definitely aspirations using modern language that I can use and run with. I also purchased Jeffrey Sach’s book of the same name. The triple bottom line of sustainable development principles caught my attention since uni days although it was mentioned cursorily, and I was happy to take the elective for my masters. God willing I should write on it too.
The next intake starts on November 21st, so you can enrol now!
I must add now that I did not finish these courses nor attempt any of the assignments. I merely cherry picked the topics I wanted and went through the video, sometimes taking notes and reading up a bit more. I’m not proficient in them, but they’re definitely some references and resources I could use for a better understanding of the world we live in.
There is one upcoming course that I enrolled in that might turn out to be a resource I’m half-committed to due to an overall lack of time to pursue it more fully.
Human Rights for Open Societies by Utrecht University
It’s a 6 week study. I’ve enrolled but they don’t contain the full length of the videos yet. So I guess I’ll just wait and see how it turns out.
So yeah, download the Coursera app on your iPad, and watch these clips when you’re on the go. Most of them are cut up to bite size which are quite manageable.
Have fun learning!