Online education

Never Too Late

I’m having a bit of a late start going today as I am finishing up a paper I am writing for a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) archaeology class that was offered by Brown University.

With that said, I am Cayla, 28 years old, mother of five and recently married. I am from Southern California and an undergraduate student of anthropology with concentration in archaeology.

I started as an undergraduate at a local college in 2006 but do to life happening, I had to step away until recently. I thought I was too old to go back to get my BA but that is not true! I do not have the option of going on campus all the time so I applied to two universities that offered a BA in Anthropology via distance learning. I have all general requirements met except for three, so I am not sitting too bad at the moment! If you have that drive, passion and determination to make your dreams happen, go for it and do not let your age stop you!

One of my mentors told us the first time I ever went into the field, “You will either love it or you will hate it.” And this holds very true! Most that signed up for the field, did not come back after our first time out. It was cold and windy…the type of wind that cuts right through you…and the hike up to the site was quite long. It was rough but despite being frozen, I loved it! My first site was pretty dull but it was still good for learning.

The second site I was on, was on a wildlife preserve that was once inhabited by local Native Americans. The site itself was pretty rough in the sense that there was a lot of bushes and the overall area was quite large. We did mostly surface survey and found pottery shards which we GPSed, did the paperwork on, labeled the bags and bagged the artifacts. Right before we left one day, we were standing around discussing something and I happened to look over…that is when I found what we later identified as human bone. It was thrilling!

In my time as a student, I have learned so much. I love the field and I love being behind the scenes in the museum, cataloging and sorting through artifacts. I have a long way to go but I plan to carry it out no matter what it takes.

Remember, if you still have it in you, age aside, to follow your dreams, whatever they may be, go after it!

Celebrating Archeological Education & the Brown MOOC

The Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, at Rhode Island HallMassive, Open, On-line Course Reaches Global Audience

It just so happens that this year’s Day of Archaeology falls as the Brown University Massive Open On-line Course (MOOC) reaches its conclusion.  The 8 week course – “Archaeology’s Dirty Little Secrets” – attracted over 38,000 registrations from dozens of countries around the world.

Delivered by Professor Sue Alcock and others from the Joukowsky Institute of Archaeology, the course has used case studies of the work done by Brown teams at Petra, in Monserrat, at El Zotz and Abydos to put over the basic principles of archaeological thought and method.

Using the Coursera MOOC platform, the course has included a mixture of videos, exercises, quizzes and, probably as important, interactions between students and faculty in the course forums. The engagement of the staff and the interaction between students – especially in the peer review of exercises – has built a loyal and enthusiastic following. Students earn a statement of accomplishment for completing the course and achieving a required score on quizzes and exercises.

Professor Alcock was recently appointed as a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. She a classical archaeologist, and has been involved with fieldwork in Greece and Armenia, but she is now directing the Brown University Petra Archaeological Project (BUPAP) and is Director of the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University.

So successful has the on-line element been that today students within reach of the University are meeting up with the course faculty at the Joukowksy Institute in Providence, Rhode Island, to share their experiences face to face.