Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Education for Writers

Further #Education for #Writers ( and, anyone else… :-)

I’ve done three past posts about free education… 

MIT Admissions

MIT Admissions Building

And, even though I’d hesitate to recommend a writer take a “creative writing course“, many writers have need of specific knowledge for many of their stories—like, for instance, how a gunshot wound is treated; or, how a certain drink is mixed; or, why people blush—then, there are the times a writer needs a rather “full” education, like when a character’s profession is crucial to the plot

One of the sources mentioned in those past posts was MIT OpenCourseWare (and, in case you had no reason to know, MIT stands for Massachusetts Institute of Technology; but there’s more than tech available—details on that in a moment…).

The physical school is in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA and MIT has a very interesting history going back to 1846

From their site:

“MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.”

“The idea is simple: to publish all of our course materials online and make them widely available to everyone.”
~ Dick K.P. Yue, Professor, MIT School of Engineering

“Our audience is divided among students, educators, and self-learners…”

“MIT OpenCourseWare receives over 2 million visits each month. These visits come from all over the world, with over half coming from outside of North America…”

The “technology” in their name does indicate lots of studies in that area; but, there is So Much Morehere are the Department headings—clicking on any of these links will open up that Department’s full list of courses, with all the pertinent information (including the exams with all the answers)—when you decide on the course you want, look at the bottom of the left column of links for “Download Course Materials“, and you’re On Your Way :-)

And, they’re All Free… And, you can take the whole course or only bits of it… And, it’s on Your schedule :-)


If you’re new to all this, what happens when you download a course is you get a ZIP file. When you open, it look for the file (near the bottom of the folder) called “START.htm”—click it and the course opens in your browser…

And, here’s an important note from the ReadMe file:

“This zip package contains the HTML pages and files associated with the course. 
“Some materials – such as videos, java applets, and other special content – are not posted on the OCW server, and are therefore not part of this package. This prevents zip packages from becoming too large for download. To download these resources to your computer, please read this FAQ.”

Extremely Important Note about Textbooks:

While I certainly haven’t checked every course offered by MIT, the three I downloaded showed “required texts” for the courses—in almost all cases, there was either an inexpensive paperback edition or a cheap Kindle e-book; and, there are also many that are linked-to on-line (for no cost)…

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Learning About The Future of Storytelling . . .

Major Short-Term Alert! Take Action before October 25th, 2013!! <— Sorry for the Hype :-)


If you want to be involved in a revolutionary new way to learn and you want to immerse yourself in the potential future of storytelling and you don’t mind not having to pay any money

Watch This Video: [ if you don’t care so much about storytelling but want free education in other topics there’s a video for you after this one ~~ and if you can’t make the sign-up deadline there are  more free education opportunities here :-) ]

This course and others are offered through iversity using MOOC—Massive Open Online Courses—like:

Contemporary Architecture

Political Philosophy: An Introduction

Design 101 (or Design Basics)

Monte Carlo Methods in Finance

And, more…

And, here’s a video about MOOCs:

Many thanks to My Best Friend for alerting me to this fabulous resource :-)
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Education For Writers ~ Did Your Teachers Help You Learn?

A writer begins to learn the moment they’re born.

First mom and dad are the teachers—maybe siblings and friends—then, the grades of school

In an essay I published 15 years ago, about my own education, I wrote:

“As I sit heresurveying the territories my learning and education have each secured, I see the utter dependence of education on the quality of the learning that fills it; and, more importantly, the need for clearly-defined, comprehensive goals of education to insure proper learning. I’m also aware of many other people called ‘bright’, ‘exceptional’ or ‘natural learners’ who are as chaotically confused as I was….

“This is an educational universe in which learning is a tool that acts to expand the potential for humanity’s education. Did that seem like a circuitous definition? Well It was meant to be.”

Back in March of 2011, I published the post, All About Kids And Creativity—worth checking out if you feel you got a bad education

That post has two videos of Sir Ken Robinson who says that his mission is “to transform the culture of education and organizations with a richer conception of human creativity and intelligence.”

The videos are called Do Schools Kill Creativity and Bring On The Learning Revolution!

Seems to me that any serious writer (even if they’re writing is all humorous) either has, or wishes they had, fully utilized their creativity and intelligence


Many of us grew up in educational systems that tried to cram information into our minds—turn us into Good Little Social Units

If I may be briefly blatant: Good Little Social Units are not creative writers—they may be “good” writers but their work doesn’t inspire or invigorate or vivify.

I had to work hard, for many years, to dismantle the parts of my mind that got indoctrinated in Social-Unit-Education.

Then, I had to learn new ways to release my ability to LearnOld English leornian “to get knowledge, be cultivated, study, read, think about,” from Proto-Germanic *liznojan (cf. Old Frisian lernia, Middle Dutch leeren, Dutch leren, Old High German lernen, German lernen “to learn,” Gothic lais “I know”), with a base sense of “to follow or find the track,” from PIE *leis- “track.” Related to German Gleis “track,” and to Old English læst “sole of the foot”.

Sir Ken Robinson has a new video called How to Escape Education’s Death Valley.

I would Love to see your thoughts and feelings about what he says, in the Comments :-)

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