Welcome to Bernie Sanders University: here's my compiled list of useful online courses for the political revolution
Bernie keeps telling citizens that politics is not a spectator sport. This means that you have to participate. Primarily, you should get involved with politics. Get in touch with other progressives in your area and start doing something with them.
But you should also learn skills that can help you participate more effectively. There are several ways to do this. Here, I want you to consider Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). So I picked a few MOOCs that can be helpful.
I only took two of these - Learning How To Learn and The Science of Everyday Thinking - and both are very popular and would be a good introduction to MOOCs, if you’re unsure about it. So I’m not sure that all my other suggestions will be great but every one of those is teaching skills that I think will be useful and that’s why I chose them.
I recommend that you start with Learning How To Learn (or the popular course Aprender, if Spanish is your preferred language). You’ll learn skills that will be useful for political participation or just anything you do in your life that involves effectively using any information to which you were exposed, but you’ll also learn how to make the most out of the courses that you take next, so you may be losing if you start other courses first. I’ve also included another “learning” course, in case you’re really serious about it.
Here are my suggestions:
This course gives you easy access to the invaluable learning techniques used by experts in art, music, literature, math, science, sports, and many other disciplines. (...) Using these approaches, no matter what your skill levels in topics you would like to master, you can change your thinking and change your life. (...) If you’ve ever wanted to become better at anything, this course will help serve as your guide.
4 hours of video, 3 hours of exercises, 3 hours of bonus material
- Aprender - note: in Spanish - Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México/Coursera
En APRENDER conocerás y pondrás en práctica, de forma sencilla y práctica, resultados de investigación recientes sobre los procesos de lectura, almacenamiento de información, recuperación de recuerdos y velocidad de procesamiento. Así, podrás utilizar, de forma eficiente, estrategias y técnicas muy útiles en tu vida académica, profesional y cotidiana.
4 semanas, 3-6 horas/semana
In this course, you’ll learn everything you need to know to maximize your grades in an online course. This includes how to use the structure and theories of contemporary education to your advantage, how to set your own educational goals, and how best to learn with your peers in an online environment.
6 hours worth of material
Learn how to think better, argue better, and choose better. (...) We will explore the psychology of our everyday thinking: why people believe weird things, how we form and change our opinions, why our expectations skew our judgments, and how we can make better decisions. (...) You will use the scientific method to evaluate claims, make sense of evidence, and understand why we so often make irrational choices. You will begin to rely on slow, effortful, deliberative, analytic, and logical thinking rather than fast, automatic, instinctive, emotional, and stereotypical thinking.
12 weeks, 2 hrs/week
Metaliteracy promotes critical thinking and self-reflection to consume, create, and share information with others. Participants will learn how to critically navigate, evaluate and produce information in open, online, and social media settings. (...) This approach is relevant to anyone who wants to be an informed consumer of digital information and active contributor to social settings mediated by technology.
Learn how to solve complex problems with analysis based decision-making and solution designs. (...) There are multiple ways to make decisions, but one way proven to be very useful is the analytical approach - a methodology for making the problem explicit and rationalising the different potential solutions. In short: analysis based support of decision making, design and implementation of solutions. [This] course teaches you this method.
Effective altruism is built on the simple but unsettling idea that living a fully ethical life involves doing the most good one can. In this course you will examine this idea's philosophical underpinnings; meet remarkable people who have restructured their lives in accordance with it; and think about how effective altruism can be put into practice in your own life.
10-15 hours of videos and assignments
This course is designed as a vocabulary of the main terms used by all of us when talking about local as well as world politics. We often use these terms without a proper awareness of their meanings and connections, a circumstance not exactly helpful for any attempt to understand how politics really works, regardless of our wishful thinking or simplistic morality or easy cynicism. (...) Part 1: What is Politics?; Part 2: How Does Politics Work?; Part 3: World Politics and the Future; Part 4: Ethics and Politics
When do governments deserve our allegiance, and when should they be denied it? This course explores the main answers that have been given to this question in the modern West. (...) In addition to exploring theoretical differences among the various authors discussed, considerable attention is devoted to the practical implications of their competing arguments. To this end, we discuss a variety of concrete problems, including debates about economic inequality, affirmative action and the distribution of health care, the limits of state power in the regulation of speech and religion, and difficulties raised by the emerging threat of global environmental decay.
8 weeks of study, 12-15 hours/week
What goes on ‘behind the scenes’ of political decision-making? Who advises politicians, and how big is their influence? (...) This course is designed to outline key features of policy advice and political consulting and their impact on governance. We will observe the key players on the spot as well as those behind the scenes and we will analyze their patterns of interaction. (...) Whom do (and should) politicians and society listen to, and what do (and should) they make of the advice they receive?
This course will equip you to utilize a powerful, eight-step method for analyzing public policy problems and formulating recommendations for addressing them. (...) You will examine specific policy examples and learn to apply this method to the social challenges you wish to concentrate upon in your own work.
6 weeks, 3-4 hours per week
Analyze how politicians debate and what the underlying patterns are in the game of framing and reframing. (...) When you enter into a debate, you might be faced with frames of your opponents – and you will have to reframe the debate. This (...) makes the debate to look like a chessboard made out of words. Of course, politicians play this game, trying to pull the debate towards their own words and metaphors in order to win their audience. But the game can be found everywhere: in the world of business, science, media – even at home. (...) You will discover how this game is played, and how you can play it yourself.
6 weeks, 2-4 hours/week
We’ll learn how organize talks clearly, write them memorably, and deliver them confidently. By the end of the course, you should be able to significantly reduce your fear of public speaking, use rehearsal techniques to develop a strong, vibrant speaking voice, and perform speeches with dynamic movement and gestures. The speech model that we’ll practice is useful for briefings, elevator talks, interviews, and even as a structure for hour-long presentations.