How to Create a Modular Degree

TL:DR | Going after your educational dreams is not something that you have to wait much longer for, as with the rise of technology we can now curate our own education. Create our own do it yourself degree, with modular education as the catalyst!


12 min read

Have you ever wanted to make your own education?
Maybe find an alternative to college?
To Create your OWN degree?

That is what you will find here in this PolyInContent post. Accompanying this written tutorial, there is also a video and podcast:


This is your one stop shop tutorial to learn how to make a Modular Degree!

While this post is a bit long in nature, that is on purpose because I want to give you the most information I can before setting you loose. Something will stick, and then you can anchor yourself to that. What you learn here is for use with my Notion Template (linked at the bottom), and can also be applied to other tools if you wish. i.e. Airtable or some other capable productivity tool.

I made the video to be a shorter version of this post, so that if you need to get started quickly, then refer back to this later then you can.

Who are the people who NEED a Modegree?

People trying to pivot careers in middle age.

Young folks who want an alternative to college, and/or to learn a modern skill. 

Time poor people who want to keep consistency despite only having so much to give each day/week.

Polymathic people who want a system that can keep up with their vast array of knowledge areas.

You may want to dive right in but...

I strongly encourage you to wait until after you finish this post!

This is the overview of the Modular Degree template, and what it even is as well.

Hello, I am Dustin Miller PolyInnovator, my personal branding/content journey started by documenting my own DIY Modular Degree pathway. This idea for a do it yourself degree, was coined by someone else, who honestly just seemingly did it just for the money. HOWEVER the concept of creating your own degree is a universal one. I have spent countless hours pouring over others who have done it. Scott Young, Jonathan Haber, Laurie Pickard, etc. I've also talked about them exstensively on the OmniBlog or TeleInnovator. I am creating this post today after YEARS of wanting to get it out.

I think you can get a LOT from it, even if you don't make your own with my Notion Template. I just simply wanted to give you a platform to try and create your own education/degree.

Please explore, and enjoy the fruits of my experimenting!!
Sincerely, - Dustin Miller PolyInnovator

By the end of this you'll be able to get started in some way towards your own education.

What is a Modular Degree?
A do it yourself degree, or modular education degree. Allowing for a self-curated and interdisciplinary degree experience.

Why Self-Education is Immensely Powerful

Honestly the term "self education" is a bit weird because we learn everything on our own technically. Even if you have a coach, teacher, or professor telling you what the knowledge is. You still have to think about the concept, ingrain it, practice it, and implement the knowledge to let it concretely  set in.

Self-Learning is this aforementioned process, and when you do it on your own entirely there is no accountability externally.

Meaning you have to get yourself to move onto the next module, get started on the next learning content type, and to ask yourself do I truly know this concept well?

When you do that, then you become far more disciplined. More than if you solely relied on teachers alone.

I want to make it VERY clear to clarify, that I adore teachers. I love it when someone can accelerate my learning, and when you take online courses you technically have a teacher in the video instructor. Even if they never interact with you personally.

The problem is that not everyone can afford college (and therefore the professors), or should even go to a university depending on what degree this person desires. Not every person learns in the same way, and may squander their learning development (not to mention time) in the archaic learning model. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, the traditional degree model leaves a LOT to be desired.

You spend your days and nights throughout college/university to learn, in order to finally get that degree in the end.

For what? A piece of paper that said you did this thing? Maybe that would help you get the foot in the door, but it is your personality. Your Network. Not to mention your actual knowledge of the subject, that will actually get you the job in the first place!

Learning how to learn is crucial, as even once you DO get the job; You're still going to have to keep your knowledge up to date, and learn even more skills down the line! The Modegree is your system for an ever changing, lifelong, learning process. Regardless if your CURRENT intent is fixed in length.

Take the Self-Edu Mini Course to Get Started!

Dustin Miller - PolyInnovator - Self-Education Mini Course (Pre-Modular Degree)
Omnichannel Content Creator; Podcaster; and Fitness Coach!. The Self-Edu mini course is made to be a foundation for the autodidactic endeavor of creating your own Modular Degree. This course will go o

How to Structure Your Degree

We do not rise to the level of our discipline, but rather fall to the level of our systems.

Think back on your last "New Year's Resolution", or the last habit you tried to implement. Think back on how successful or unsuccessful it was, and think about how you could have done it better.

Trust me we have ALL been there, and this is why it is so imperative that we learn from each other.

Your Modular Degree is just that, YOURS, and what you do with it is what you need to plan out. I created a template that you can take in any which direction.

I made a lot of mistakes when I started my own learning journey with the Modegree, and many of which I document on my YouTube channel. In fact that is how I started making videos, was to start documenting my journey. One of the ways to prove your knowledge in some form. While some things worked for me, they may not work for you, and vice versa.

All of the Information You'll NEED

At the top of the template I have a section that shares information to get you started.

Master View

Ignore the yellow part as it is just the tutorial piece, and can be deleted later.

The main thing to look at is the database in the second half. That is where the beauty in this Notion template is. It is simply a list of titles and links to resources on the internet. However each line is it's own document, and that allows you to take notes for each and every thing you collect to learn.

Each line is a different content type as well, which means you can organize it based on whether it is an article or video, etc.

You can link it to other databases down the line too, such as a Task Database, or a Content Production database if you follow my advice to create content on what you learn.

⚠️
Note: You probably won't be looking at this huge list all the time, but only when you need to make changes across the board, or trying to get the big picture.

Taxonomy View (I.e. Semesters)

You don't have to do it this way if you don't want, and that is the point!

This is the part where your input is very important. It is how YOU organize the system, and please let me know what you try! I chose to follow a more traditional "semester" based system. Rather than timing it by credit hours however, and doing a quarterly/ yearly thing. I just simply separated it by topic, and then when I finished the last thing in that topic. THAT is when I move onto the next Semester.

Here is an example of my semesters taxonomy.

My intention was to create a Smart City Development degree, as there wasn't really any one on the internet at the time. Now there are a couple masters level programs, but still no Bachelors. Let alone one that would lead into Quantum Physics, which is an interest of mine too.


Let's take a break...

That is a lot to read in a short timespan, go grab a glass of water, and come back!

How to Manage the Content in Each View

Welcome back! I mentioned the master table database before, and that is what we will be working with. I use Notion because it is the most modifiable tool on the market. I tried using nearly 100 productivity/task management tools for my content creation, and I found that Notion allowed me to not only manage a complex system as that. It also worked amazingly with my Modular Degree system as well. Prior to that I used Airtable, which worked well at dividing things up, but not on a normal basis usage.

You can use the Notion WebClipper to gather links that you find to be useful towards your degree. Sadly it wasn't around when I got started, so I had to MANUALLY input every title, link, cost, hours, etc.

You'll still have to do some parts yourself, like how many hours to spend on a course for example. Not to mention telling the database WHAT Content Type each link is, and that is super important!

Content Type View

Don't worry it won't always look like this, as I just zoomed out to take a picture of all of it

If you'll notice, each one of these are just different levels of the same three content types: Written, Audio, and Video. I tried to color code each one too to make it more visual as best I could.

The articles and books fall into written.

The Videos and Courses fall into Video.

The Podcasts and Audiobooks fall into Audio.

Check out the Notion WebClipper!

Notion Web Clipper for Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and mobile
Save any web page on Notion. Annotate and organize to your heartʼs content.

__

📝Articles:

Probably the most simple and vast amounts out there. However some articles hold a special place in your learning journey. Also the clipper does this neat thing, and takes the article into your doc for that line in the database. So if you clip this article, it should take in the title, link, most text, and the images. It is super helpful, as sometimes websites go down, or the source you were reading isn't working.

Perhaps too you want to highlight certain sections, but you can't obviously modify a webpage to do so. I do also recommend https://glasp.co/ to do highlighting, if you are the type of person to highlight everything!

📝Books:

While more geared towards digital ebooks, you can put in your physical ones as well, and this way you can take notes directly into the page about what great ideas are in the book.

I don't suggest having too many books, or else this will become more of a library rather than a degree! Although that is all up to you of course. 👍

📺Videos:

Another thing you'll probably find a lot of on the internet of course. Keeping track of what videos you watch may get a bit irritating at times. However I have had many instances where I needed to relearn a skill or topic, and then couldn't find the video that taught me originally. So frustrating, and this way you can also once again take notes.

🤩
You'll probably read that a lot on here "TAKE NOTES" because it really does help you learn!

📺Courses:

Honestly this is probably the most useful taxonomy, as it is how I got my Modegree started. More than likely it is what is going to fill your actual learning the most too. I love all of the other content types, and I have learned a lot from the likes of podcasts or blogs.

However the most dense you're going to get is probably from here.

🎧Podcasts:

I really think people don't keep track of the podcasts they listen to well enough. Now considering you're going to listen on your phone most likely, the saving of the link isn't as easy. Although you can always just copy the link on your device. Then on desktop click it and put in the other information.

🎧Audiobooks:

Another quite dense source. During the better seasonal weather I would go on "Podcast walks", and oftentimes substitute podcasts for audiobooks too. It is a great way to consume many in a quick time span.

👂
Pro Tip: With any sort of audio content, learn to listen at a higher speed, and work your way up to 2.5x speed!

Additionally, we have "Conversations"

Unfilled, as this is the template haha!

This is something I would highly recommend not taking for granted. If you have a certain theme per semester like I did. Perhaps at the end or in the middle, go and have a conversation with an expert on the subject. Many people would love to share what they know, and if you are truly interested too that will be apparent.

This is a great way to start a podcast too, and by doing so you prove to the world you know the subject deeply as well.

Tell the world you're creating YOUR OWN DEGREE!

Click to tweet!

Tweet: I am learning how to make my own #modulardegree from @polyinnovator! :D https://polyinnovator.space/how-to-create-a-modular-degree/

What is the point?

To give you the opportunity to learn what YOU want to learn. Not what you are told to learn.

There are plenty of reasons to have basic understanding of a lot of subjects. Hence why we are required to learn the general education courses in most bachelor's programs.

Even just now when writing that line above I made the mistake of typing "there is" instead of "there are", which is a common grammar mistake. However I have learned in my prior schooling to catch those. That is an example of something you wouldn't KNOW you need to learn. However it is worth knowing, especially since I'm a writer. (Note: I was going to give one main reason, which is why I had said "is" originally.)

Personal Takeaways

It is super simple to get started, and to be frank you already have by reading this.

You'll only need the template and the Self-Edu mini course, and both of which are in this post.

You already have the tenacity to go forth and pursue your own educational endeavor. I mean you're already here, and that proves a lot more than you think!

Related Post:

Why Modular Education is Important
The variability of stackable, skill tree, and modular learning modalities. These are the fundamentals of modular learning, and why I created the Modular Degree.

Go ahead and get started!

I highly suggest taking the Self-Education mini course, even you're already a prolific autodidact. That is linked above in this post, as well as IN the Modegree template. You'll find it pretty easy on my site too.

You shouldn't need anything more than this article or attached video to get started on making your own Modegree.

This post has been years in the making!

Dustin Miller - PolyInnovator - Modular Degree NOTION Template
Omnichannel Content Creator; Podcaster; and Fitness Coach!. Your access link will be on the next page!
Dustin Miller - PolyInnovator - Self-Education Mini Course (Pre-Modular Degree)
Omnichannel Content Creator; Podcaster; and Fitness Coach!. The Self-Edu mini course is made to be a foundation for the autodidactic endeavor of creating your own Modular Degree. This course will go o

This is the category of Education Posts for the OmniBlog, and you'll find all of my posts related to this one here.

Self-Education | Modular Degree (Alt to College) 🎓 - PolyInnovator LLC | Official Website for Dustin Miller
Self-Education is a term I took from Autodidactism, and is something not talked about enough. Most, if not all, very successful individuals of the world exclaim that it was learning that attributed to their success.

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