I am Neuroscience PhD, a humanist, skeptic, feminist, avid reader, science enthusiast, woolly-liberal über-nerd, and, as of October 2015, father to the Lykketroll.

I moved from England to Norway in January 2012 and live in Lørenskog with my wife, the Lykketroll, and our two aging rescue cats, Socrates and Schrödinger. 

I am on paternity leave from the 4th of July to the 18th of November. 

The job I am on leave from is as an  Associate Professor and Head of Studies at the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences. My background is in child neurodevelopment (my PhD looked into the relationship between fatty acids like omega-3 and cognitive development in young children) but I now work on a hodge-podge of things roughly within the field of Universal Design of ICT 50% of the time, the other 50% of my time I am Head of the 'General' Studies (Allmenn in Norwegian) Unit, which is comprised of around 24 academics within a range of fields, including mathematics, physics, Norwegian, and technology and leadership.

In between working and doing the usual dad things,  I like hiking and running in the beautiful Norwegian outdoors, cooking and playing video games. 

If I believed in souls I would say that mine was born in Norway. 

I plan to sleep when I'm dead.

Free online Neuroscience courses

My wife just sent me a link first to this

TED talk

by

Daphne Koller

, who wants universities to put their most interesting courses online for free, not just so that people accessing the courses can learn, but also to help study how people learn from online material.

Like others of its kind (

Kahn Academy

Udacity

edX

, each with a different formats/types/topics of subjects, assessments and requirements), the idea behind

Coursera

, the company that Koller co-founded, is to have lecturers and professors from top  universities (predominantly American by the looks of things; Harvard, Stanford etc.) run a series of online lectures that people can access for free.

I must admit that I don't know too much about online courses, other than one of my

Apple-Fanboy

friends getting excited about 

iTunes U

, but I really like the idea of full courses online with quizzes, exams and peer feedback, and especially the idea of using the massive amounts of data generated by the students (users?) to tailor the course content and delivery (skip to the 14:00 minute mark of the video above) and study learning practices.

There are

lots of courses

to choose from, but I've I've signed up for

Medical Neuroscience

, which unfortunately doesn't start until March next year.

It looks pretty full-on (16-20 hours of work a week) and requires university-level knowledge of neuroanatomy (I'm hoping my PhD will come in handy) but it looks really interesting and I'm really looking forward to it. I've also signed up for a five-week course on

Drugs and the Brain

, which starts in November, looks a little less intensive and recommends only some 'previous exposure to science' (although I'm not quite sure what exactly that means).

I don't know how Coursera compares to other free online course providers 'on the market', how this model changes the role of traditional universities, or how viable they are, but the idea harnessing the internet to provide free, quality education to the masses is fundamentally exciting.

Related articles

Enhanced by Zemanta

Launch of the latest, god-themed, issue of Argument

Peer-reviewed pop: They Might Be Giants: Why does the sun really shine?