Coursera – Free online college

Online classes are becoming very common these days, with entire degree programs available from the comfort of your home. But a new trend is for some of these classes to be made available for free, with no catch.

And I’ve just signed up for one.

Yes, in my ongoing quest to continue my personal and professional growth, I’ve decided to give this a whirl. Coursera offers a class taught by a Stanford University professor — yes, Stanford — in Organizational Analysis. From the course description online:

It is hard to imagine living in modern society without participating in or interacting with organizations. The ubiquity and variability of organizations means there is ample room for complexity and confusion in the organizational challenges we regularly face. Through this course, students will consider cases describing various organizational struggles: school systems and politicians attempting to implement education reforms; government administrators dealing with an international crisis; technology firms trying to create a company ethos that sustains worker commitment; and even two universities trying to gain international standing by performing a merger.

Each case is full of details and complexity. So how do we make sense of organizations and the challenges they face, let alone develop means of managing them in desired directions? While every detail can matter, some matter more than others. This is why we rely on organizational theories — to focus our attention and draw out relevant features in a sensible way.

Through this course you will come to see that there is nothing more practical than a good theory. Every week, you’ll learn a different organizational theory, and it will become a lens through which you can interpret concrete organizational situations. Armed with a toolset of theories, you will then be able to systematically identify important features of an organization and the events transforming it – and use the theories to predict which actions will best redirect the organization in a desired direction.

Class starts towards the end of September. Anybody want to join me? As I said, it’s 100% free, no textbooks, no catch, no hidden fees or expenses.

For anyone seriously interested, leave a reply below and perhaps we can convene a sort of GatorUptown.com study group?

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