I am studying for an online course. This isn’t just any course, it is being taught by professors at the Ivy League Duke University in the US where if I wanted to attend I would have to pay tuition fees of $43,623. I am paying nothing at all.
I have written previously about this new trend in massive online courses (MOOCs) and this is the one I thought I would try: Think again, how to reason and argue. Learning to argue sounds like a good plan if you’re going to blog and criticise, so, how perfect.
The course will take 12 weeks to teach me “how to analyze and evaluate arguments and how to avoid common mistakes in reasoning” through a series of short lectures, exercises and a quiz at the end of each of the four parts of the course.
Time required should be about 2 hours per week watching the lectures, another 2 hours per week doing the exercises, and about 1 hour on each quiz.
There will also be a discussion forum. So far it sounds positive. I have done a few online courses with the Open University and the only thing missing so far is an advance look at the materials. It would have been nice to have it all beforehand but never mind.
There is no required reading or additional purchases but there is an accompanying book which I got excited about. If it had been affordable I would have downloaded the ebook straight away so I could get started but no such luck.
Understanding Arguments, Eighth Edition, by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Robert Fogelin costs £49.99 from the publishers and £54.99 from Amazon. I found it through an inter-library loan via Birmingham so hopefully that will arrive soon and not cost too much. The chapters are also available individually at £1.99 from the publishers.
The course starts on Monday, 26 November.
Anyone can join in, just follow the link to sign-up.