When a friend posted in Facebook about having a received a grant from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Caraga to enroll in as many Coursera courses as he wanted, I bookmarked his post but otherwise didn’t take much notice of it at first, mostly because I thought the grant application process would take too much time and effort, and who has extra time these days, right? Plus, applying for things — asking people for something — is one of those things that I really don’t like doing, for some reason.
Eventually, however, I had a bit of time in my hands while waiting for my son to finish an activity for his Montessori homeschooling program, and I thought, ehh, why not try it? Thank God I did, because it turned out to be fairly easy to apply for the grant! And the thing with Coursera — as well as many other massive open online course (MOOC) platforms — is that many of the courses are free but you have to pay if you want to get a certificate of completion. With the 75,000-slot grant that Coursera gave to DOST Caraga, though, a grantee can enroll in an unlimited number of courses and get certificates FOR FREE. Because, you know, it’s all very well if you’re just learning for the sake of learning, but with the pandemic, a lot of people have lost jobs and need to polish their resumes. Training certificates — whether it’s from Ivy League schools like Yale or Princeton, or company-specific courses from Google or IBM or Facebook — can be very useful.
Further below, I listed all the courses that I signed up for in Coursera, in case you’ve signed up for Coursera too and need ideas. There’s one with Jane Goodall. A lot of how-tos for Google and Canva. I majored in psychology at the University of the Philippines so there are a lot of psych-related courses, as well as ones on well-being, which was my thesis topic. There are topics I’m actually learning along with my son, like Dino 101 and Astro 101. Parenting courses too — we could all use a little help there! But a lot of the topics I enrolled in are ones that anybody would find useful, including courses on financial planning and time management. And there’s even one that Stanford University — whose courses are usually not available through the DOST-Coursera partnership — is offering for free! Check them all out in the section after next.
But first: how to enroll.
There are step-by-step instructions here.
DOST-Caraga also prepared answers to frequenty asked questions HERE.
The 75,000 slots have been filled BUT the DOST Caraga sent out an email last night saying that several hundred slots are available again because some people didn’t enroll in any courses. If you’ve been invited to the grant, all you have to do is click the Join Now or Join Program in your email. If you haven’t been given a grant yet, you can still apply here and you will be waitlisted. I know a friend who applied just last night and got in, so hurry!
The deadline for enrollment was yesterday, so I don’t know if people can still avail of the grant. Probably not. 🙁 Let’s hope that Coursera extends the deadlines and gives DOST-Caraga more slots! Meanwhile, I think that one of the things we can do is to raise awareness about how we really appreciate a program like this. Perhaps we can clamor for the government — maybe the national government, since they have more say about budgets — to get in touch with Coursera and negotiate a program that can benefit a lot more people. I’ll quote two of the FAQs in DOST-Caraga’s websit. First, about the deadline:
Q: Is there a possibility to extend the deadlines for course enrollment and completion to earn free certificates?
A: As of the moment, the deadlines are final and there is no possibility of extension.
And what a lot of us would like to know:
Q: Will there be another Coursera scholarship grant next year or in the coming years?
A: We don’t know. The scholarship program granted to DOST-Caraga by Coursera for free is a very rare opportunity which probably won’t happen again. As to government-funded Coursera or MOOCs scholarships in the future, we are hoping that someone in the government will take the initiative to push for the institutionalization of this program for the benefit of the Filipinos.
We never know! There are elections coming up so maybe someone can sponsor this.
And now here’s the list of some of the amazing courses at Coursera.
These are divided roughly into categories by topic but do scroll down to Random Interests because there’s a lot of really good stuff there.
P.S. This list started with 113 but then I enrolled in some more courses today, bringing the total to 123. I don’t expect I’ll be able to finish all of these — and DOST-Caraga says that’s perfectly fine, there won’t be penalities for enrolling in courses but ultimately not finishing or even starting them — but at least I’ll have the option to learn more about all these topics. In fact, I expect, for some of the topics, I won’t necessarily do the entire course, but just the parts that I’m interested in.
HEALTH AND WELL-BEING