Feed Your Mind: Coursera


This will not be a surprise to those of you who’ve caught onto the fact that I’m a giant nerd: I loved being a student… stocking up on textbooks and supplies, pouring over a syllabus, writing assignment dates on my calendar, being tested and graded, and — most especially — learning new things. IT IS SO MUCH FUN TO LEARN NEW THINGS!

A few months ago, Dave took an online songwriting class with Coursera, an education company that offers free online classes with instructors from top universities from all over the world. The courses range from four to twelve weeks, depending on the subject, and include video and reading assignments, graded homework (!), and discussion forums to help students learn the material.

I was browsing the massive list of classes covering just about every subject area, and I found a class that’s perfect for me: The Science of Gastronomy. So while most normal people will enjoy summer by diving into a swimming pool, I’m celebrating the summer by heading into the virtual classroom. Here’s the promo video for The Science of Gastronomy:

This 6-week class starts July 10, and it’s free, so if you’re interested in the science behind how we eat and cook, you might want to sign up.

I have to admit, I was just scrolling through the course list again, and the temptation to register for everything is worse than when I visit a Penzeys store and start buying spices willy-nilly. I just committed to two more classes that have nothing to do with my “dayjob” and everything to do with personal interest: The Holocaust (starts July 15) and A History of the World Since 1300 (starts September 15), the latter of which requires this giant textbook.

Nerd alert! Reading is sexy!


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  • Teresa says:

    Are you kidding me? FREE? I LOVE history but have always felt grossly under-educated where it is concerned. This will be awesome! Thanks!

  • Teresa says:

    Oh…I also have this exact “reading is sexy” image on a t-shirt. 🙂

  • Abby says:

    That video alone makes me want to take the class! The fact that I am a total nerd who enjoys learning and reading entirely too much may also play a small factor. And maybe the jammin’ music in the background of that video…yep. I may just sign up for that class right now!

  • Raquel says:

    OoooO! Finally! This has been on my Coursera list for a while. So happy it’s finally starting. I’m really excited about finding out how to have even MORE fun in my DIY laboratory!

  • Emily says:

    OMG I love this! I just took an online photography course and want MORE! Thank you!!!

  • Amanda says:

    There is an edX course on the science of cooking being offered in October, too. It has a pretty impressive staff/contributor lineup (Harold McGee, Michael Pollan, Ferran Adria, etc.).

  • Susan says:

    Nerd girls unite!

  • Jennifer Speer says:

    Thank you so much for this! I have felt so deprived since graduating from college and this offers a great FREE option to continue enhancing and educating our minds. FYI-Joining you in the Gastronomy course July 10th!

  • Cara says:

    Thank you so much for introducing me to coursera! As a fellow nerd, I’m so exited to see this on your blog. And p.s. your cookbook is amazing!

  • Victoria says:

    Yes! I’ve been signed up for this for AGES looking forward to it. I love Coursera – I’ve taken about 3 nutrition courses so far this year. Very interesting!

  • Wow, thanks for this link! I’m looking into A History of the world since 1300. Amazing!

    As for Penzey’s… Because you rave about it, when I was in Austin I hit up Penzey’s on North Lamar and spent so much time (and $$) smelling and buying spices I was sneezing and could hardly taste for an hour afterwards. And I had a coffee cupping at Houndstooth next door right after! (Note to self: Do NOT smell spices before sampling coffees!) Boy am I enjoying those spices now!

    Happy Fourth of July to the 3 of you! 🙂


  • Jasmine says:

    I’ve been on the fence about signing on for this course, but now I’m going for it. See you on the other side!

  • katherine says:

    Thank you for sharing this!! I signed up for a class immediately and can’t wait to sign up for more. I am undecided about what I want to go back to school for and I think this is a great way to explore without the huge commitment and financial burden!

  • Amie(able) says:

    I love Coursera! I finished a Pre-Calc course not terribly long ago and am going to do a Calculus class once the kids go back to school. This lets me conquer my “I’m no good at math” thing that held me back in high school, plus it makes me a better (and more profitable) tutor. I always get distracted by the non-dayjob classes too! 🙂

  • Natalie says:

    Awesome! Thanks for this. I signed up, even though I’m currently overloaded with my own science studies. Also signed up for another upcoming course. Brain-noms 🙂

  • Pip Hunt says:

    What?? This is RAD! Now I’m excited!