CHOOSING AN ONLINE COURSE

Hafsa Malik
7 min readOct 16, 2021

Feeding Curiosities

List Of Courses I’d like to take;

  • Psychology
  • Criminal Psychology
  • Law and Order
  • Complete Turkish Language
  • Language Course….. Maybe Italian or Chinese
  • Management Course ….. Maybe Supply Chain, Operational or Emergency Management
  • Creative Arts or Photography
  • Graphic Designing or Interior Designing
  • Guitar and Piano lessons
  • Dance Course
  • Manufacturing
  • International cuisines
  • Different Culture and Religions……. Olympus, Greek Mythology, Korean and Malay Culture
  • Emergency and Dermatological Medicine
  • Creative Thinking, Wellness, Personal Development Courses
  • Meteorology, Constellations and stories related to places etc.

I have always been an intriguing person, always looking for adventure, new experiences and eager to learn about almost everything. I participated in the school chorus to learn to drum, took part in an adventure club to try bungee jumping and rock climbing, played every sport possible, ranging from cricket, basketball to volleyball and karate. It was a plus point of mine and considering, I was also an avid reader with interests fluctuating from thrillers and mysteries to fluffs and comedy genres, It is safe to say that I have diverse interests. So, to write about courses I’d like to try, I’ll have to consult my never-ending bucket list. For that, I chose psychology as the first course to take. Here are some screenshots of what the course was about and my response to the pre-survey.

https://www.coursera.org/learn/introduction-psychology/supplement/Q7uQr/about-this-course

The above picture is a brief description of what this course is about.

This is Paul Bloom for Yale, who has been there for 20 years and psychology is his favourite subject, he wanted to reach a broader audience, hence, why he chose coursera. I’m guessing I’ll be seeing him a lot in this course.

This was a depiction of my responses to the pre-survey questions of the course.

I take back, my words from before. I guess I’ll be seeing an animated version of Paul more. Not that I’m complaining, I love these videos in courses. It reminds me of Amal courses and how much I’ll miss their sessions and courses, especially the videos, the PW, not so much.

This picture shows one instance of the introductory video about Phineas Gage’s life story.

Psychology has always intrigued me. What has always fascinated me is the way the human brain works. What makes the person, the way he is. What makes them tick. Our mind is a strange place and it’s equally intriguing how each brain works differently. The way we perceive emotions, situations, problems and different verbal and non-verbal cues, is such an interesting thing to explore.

I expect to be able to understand the minute behaviour cues, personality changes and cognitive with developmental learning. Maybe I can take criminal psychology next time. I want to explore this interest of mine to see where it can take me. After all shows like Bull, Ransom, and Sherlock Holmes have always piqued my interest.

I didn’t spend much time researching my interests because I usually had this bucket list, so it was just a matter of deciding what to do. Once I started the course, I completely lost track of time. I honestly forgot about this PW and finished the one-week course in 30 minutes. So I believe Amal once again helped me do something productive amid my otherwise non-magical thinking period.

The brain is a complex entity. there are still some things that cannot be explained and I don’t think scientists have even scraped the conundrum that the brain is. But they did manage to keep Stephen King alive so I guess it’s enough for now.

Jamshaid, a fellow team member of mine once said,” I always thought that human body study is boring. But the technology is being developed which is more interactive with human functionalities. Like BMW made a car, a self-driven car that actually studies and analyze your heartbeat to pass on the car access.” in one of our conversations. My response was automatic.

Here, I would like to take the liberty of sharing one of the inspiring stories from this course, that I took on Coursera. Hope you’ll like it, as much as I did.

The Story of Phineas Gage

So Gage was a blasting foreman working on a railway construction project and his job, at that time, was to clear away rock so that they could lay down tracks. And to do so, his routine during those days, was that he would bore a hole in the rocks. Inside the hole, he put blasting powder and a fuse in. Then he would cover that up with dirt and sand and take a tamping iron, which he carried with him. A big piece of steel looked like a javelin and use it to tamp down the sand and dirt so that later they could set the fuse and cause the explosions.

Well one day, something didn’t work. Nobody’s exactly sure why, maybe he just forgot to put in the sand and the dirt. But regardless, he put the tamping iron into the hole, the powder exploded. The tamping iron shot away from his hand and went into his face. It entered the left side of Gage’s jaw, moving in an upward direction, it passed behind the left eye through the left side of the brain and it went out the top of his skull and landed several feet away from the clutter. Now miraculously Gage wasn’t killed on the spot. He lost consciousness for a little bit, but then he staggered to his feet.

And in some regards, Gage was very lucky. So he underwent a series of operations, he had infections, he got sick. At times, his life was at risk. But months later, he was, in certain regards, pretty much recovered. He was able to see, he wasn’t deaf, he wasn’t paralyzed, he didn’t lose the ability to speak or understand language, he didn’t lose his intellectual capacities in any simple way.

And, because Gage has been transformed by this incident. Someone who knew Gage describes the transformation like this. Before the accident, Gage was, quote the most efficient and capable man, a man of temperate habits, considerable energy of character, a sharp shrewd businessman.

After the accident, Gage was no longer Gage. He was fitful, irreverent, indulging at times in the grossest profanity manifesting but little deference for his fellows. He ended up losing his job. He travelled through the states taking up different jobs, engaging in different relationships. And ultimately ended up in an exhibit in a travelling circus, holding a tamping iron and telling people about this terrible story about how it went through his head and went through his brain, and changed his life.

So, why am I telling you this story? You see, the story of Phineas Gage illustrates something which we have abundant reason to believe, which is that the brain is the source of mental life. And so damage to the brain can have profound effects on who we are and what we are.

An idea here is nicely summarized by the Nobel prize-winning biologist Francis Crick, he calls it the Astonishing Hypothesis. As he writes, the Astonishing Hypothesis is that You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules, i.e. the brain.

The official term for this is materialism that we are material beings. Everybody accepts that our arms and legs and our heart and kidneys are made of the same sort of stuff as rabbits and automobiles and cups. But the idea is that our mental life, what makes us special, our most intimate feelings and thoughts also arise from these material things. And this is the idea that makes possible the discipline of neuroscience and much of psychology. I hope it interests you as much it interests me. Do you know criminals work this way too? Serial Killers have a motive too, they are trying to do something good with what they think is the right way, “A misguided Morale”. For example; Thanos was trying to save the planet, in his own twisted and warped sense of goodness. What do you think?

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