I read a lot of detective/crime/murder novels. In some of the older ones, the detectives, sitting around the squad room, will make some comment along the lines of: “Well, we picked up some moke for the crime, but had to let him go.” I never actually looked up the word “moke”, but interpreted it as “poor sap” or “hapless individual” or some such. The actual derivation of the word, I’ve found is “archaic British, Australian or United States slang for ‘donkey’”.
That being said, and using ANY of the preceding three definitions, I probably qualify as a “moke”.
Being a curious sort, and penurious as well, I began searching the Internet a few weeks ago, hoping to stumble across some FREE online college courses that could help to fill in some of the gigantic gaps in my cranial capacity. This is a fairly new concept, and some of the major universities in the country (and probably the world) are now offering a selection of these Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). At the “Coursera” website (https://coursera.org), I found a Duke University online class called Introduction to Genetics and Evolution. Although I waded through Introductory Genetics some 20+ years ago, the subject of evolution was intriguing, and something that I thought I understood ONLY on the most BASIC level.
I, therefore, signed up for the class, along with over TWENTY THOUSAND other intellectual sponges. That’s the beauty of a MOOC. Each week, the students are to watch a series of video lectures, read some optional “enrichment” information (usually to be found online, and free) and answer a series of quiz questions. With so many participants, I can’t help but believe that the quiz questions would HAVE to be multiple choice or true/false. I can’t conceive of Duke University teaching assistants grading that many essay questions each week. It probably goes without saying that no actual college credit is awarded for successful completion of the class, but the acquisition of knowledge requires no Certificate of Completion.
I’ve just finished the first week’s assignments. The guy in the video lectures, Dr. Mohammed Noor, of Duke University, is a personable sort, and the lectures are interesting, informative, and pretty basic. His observations challenge some basic ideas and assumptions that I suppose I’ve long held, and clarify some important points. For example, he emphasizes that Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection does NOT attempt to identify the ORIGIN of all life, but merely to point out the changes in organisms over time. He also posits that ALL life, both plant and animal, may have evolved from a single, simple, original basic life form. That’s something I’d never really thought about.
Regardless of my progress through the course, this is proving to be a fun, entertaining, and seemingly worthwhile way to spend a few hours a week.
I think the concept will catch on. At present, check out the Coursera website, or merely Google “MOOC”. You might find something you like. Better than trolling the ‘net for pornography, anyway.
Does this mean I may be related to a rutabega? Maybe I should run out and buy a Duke sweatshirt.