This is a post meant to help those with their endeavor to create their own degree via: MOOC’s, OpenCourseWare, CLEP, or anything educational. Forging it all into an organized list. There are some assumptions already, such as you have found your theme or “major”, and that you have collected some resources already. Though I will try to go over both a bit as well just in case.
You have to have a desire to learn. #autodidact If you don’t then this will NEVER work for you. It is something that especially right now in this time takes a lot of grit, passion, or some sort of energy source of the gods. Do not let this scare though, for I really believe many people are far more capable than they realize.
Goal or Major:
You need something to work towards, otherwise your efforts may be in vain, even if its a lofty goal. A goal is still a goal. They say set systems in place instead of setting goals. However I believe this to be the case as well, BUT in this particular situation you need to have a theme to follow to get started. For example I am only really doing this because I can’t get an education of the same caliber for what I intend to learn elsewhere. Literally, as I aim for a synergy in “Global Sustainability Development, Innovation/Project Management, and Social Entrepreneurship”. My “Major” is all three at once, and this D.I.Y. Degree allows me to do that. So can you.
Have a List of Links:
Now this part can actually be a bit loose, as I do have the next section talking about creating one. Though even just having a dozen links can mean a lot, I had a lot of bookmarks I’ve collected over the past 5 years or since MOOC’s came out. (2012) As well as right before I decided to pursue this I wanted a hard skill I could take anywhere, and although I put it on hold right now its still in my degree. I searched far and wide, and collected a vast amount of programming and web design courses with getpocket.com. From that alone I had one of my “Semesters”.
Create a List
This sounds so simple, but for some people it can be hard as it comes. One point I heard recently when trying to come up with a list of 10 ideas, is to come up with 20 instead. Often times it comes down to the idea of perfection. To me the course that I look at when deciding to keep it or move has to impress me 60% or higher. Anything less and it gets scrapped, for I have way to many already.
Note: I almost never find a course that gets me to a 90% excitement.
You can use so many programs for this such as Word, Notepad, Class Central, Mooc List, but my favorite is to use Google Sheets. This gives you the organizational power you need because of the format. (I’ll post a blank copy of my list soon so people can copy that) The formatting options such as changing color of the sheet cell depending on how far along you are in the course is a great tool. As well as being able to have the name, subject, platform, cost, links all in a row helps keeps things organized more.
Organize Them On the Total Count
I had over 400 so I divided by ten, and created each semester with 40 courses. Now let us appreciate that for a moment because most Bachelor degrees contain 40 courses total over four years. Granted each D.I.Y. Degree course varies greatly in length, but still the audacity here is immense. It means my D.I.Y. Degree has ten times as many courses as a Undergraduate Degree.
Though you may like to keep it simple, or may only be able to find a couple dozen courses you care to complete. That is fine, although if you find yourself in an extreme case where you can only find a few courses you want, or more so if you are in a large amount like me!
Basically it should shift depending on how many courses you have. You really don’t want to exceed 40–50 courses per “semester”, and I use that term lightly because it could take over a year to complete one, or less than a month.
Bear in mind you can always add or remove some more later.
Try to Base It on Subject
Each semester should have it’s own theme, or in reference to the comparison made earlier to bachelor’s degrees, it’s own “major”.
Meaning by the end of the Degree, you should have the knowledge worth of multiple traditional degrees. Granted you followed all the steps, and made sure you actively learned all the information. More importantly put them into practice in your daily life!
Now I say this knowing very well that we are not creatures of absorbing knowledge. It takes time and lots of repetition to keep things in our long term memory. Not only that depending on your learning style you may be quicker or slower.
What I would say is use the concept of “Interleaving” to allow for a crossover effect on your semesters. For example my first semester is Business, but I have a couple of courses from my Information Technology in it as well to keep my skills up and prepare for the later courses.
All in All
This was an interesting post to write, as I created a companion piece on education.media
Also a podcast to both go along with this one. There was just so much information to get across that I needed to spread it all out! Only the determined will succeed here, so I hope you go and check them out!
Here is the Podcast:
Podcast with deeper talking points!