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I teach English as a foreign language in France.

This blog is to help me sort out what I have learned in the MOOCs that I take. I started with the EDC MOOC which was to help me with my job. I enjoyed it so much that I have started a few more. As my past University and professional qualifications were all based in logic and numbers I  decided to take courses that  don’t involve these at all (for now).

The notes on here are not all my own work and ideas as I watch the MOOC lectures and read around the subjects from all sorts of sources.

These are not my texts but those of the lecturer of the particular MOOC. Using the course text file I reformat it, take out repetitions or ‘erms’ and add pictures where I can. If there are any strange terms I link them to some kind of explanation. Then I re-read whilst listening to the videos correcting all  word recognition software errors, such as ‘weird guard’ to rear guard’.  For ease of translation I sometimes shorten sentences or alter sentence structure.

Why do I do this? Firstly; writing helps me to absorb the course more fully. Secondly; I hope that the translation facility on my blog will help those whose English is a second language. Google translation is not the best but it is getting better. On other courses some hard of hearing people found the notes useful also. Finally; I use these notes to draw attention to my charities that are found at the bottom of my transcripts.


  1. I enjoyed reading your ideas, Louise! I am based in Austria and have an eLearning platform. Making blended-learning work is a major focus area of mine as well. Nice to meet you –

    • Louise Taylor says:

      Nice to meet you too Heather. There are a lot of good arguments for Blended Learning teaching. I think it is the next best thing to face to face.

  2. good tool to catch up with the history of ideas in western culture; congratulations, and thanks for your effort

  3. Kalpesh says:

    hey can u share my videos with your blogs


    • Louise Taylor says:

      I will certainly have a look and see if I can use any of them. I do like film clips in my blog posts.

  4. ASM BELAL says:

    Hey Louise
    What a fascination for ideas! I was searching in google for “dissection and permeation” and ended up visiting your site. I am also your peer in Michael S. Roth’s class and fascinated by the time travel class by Alasdair Richmond in philosophy course. I am enjoying both courses so much. For me the challenge is English language. The way the native speakers express their views and ideas appear really difficult for me. So, in many assignments I received poor grades.But I keep attending the course because I need ideas not grades. Thank you very much for this initiative, It will be helpful for me as I continue to follow your posts.

    • Louise Taylor says:

      Thank you Abu.
      I am glad that you find my blog useful. I am very impressed that you are taking these course in a language that isn’t your own. That will certainly improve your English. Problems of vocabulary and grammar should not effect the grades that you get, when I see that someone has a problem with the language I think they should have extra marks for trying so hard.

  5. Hi Louise,
    I now look forward to your blog every week! I loved blogging in edcMOOC, but as I said before, was not confident enough to do it in this mooc. I’ve just started another one on genetics and I can’t imagine I will blog in it either. I’m wondering if I’m just too lazy in fact??!! Especially when I can read your blog! Thanks

    • Louise Taylor says:

      This one is more difficult to blog as there is such a lot too it. It doesn’t lend itself so easily to the medium. I am just starting on the blog notes for hour five and it is huge.

  6. Good luck Louise. When you finish another one, please consider writing up a review for us. (We already have one on Modernism/Postmodernism.)

    Robert McGuire
    Editor, MOOC News and Reviews

  7. Dale says:

    Hi Louise. There is a fascinating flow of ideas here. I can see how creating a blog like this would be a useful way to keep track of one’s thoughts and learning. You’re giving me inspiration to start something too 🙂 I will certainly stop by from time to time and ‘listen in’ to your journey through all these wonderful courses.

    Oh – and a recommendation. The Coursera class on ‘The Fiction of Relationship’ is proving to be one of the most intriguing and thought-provoking courses I’ve ever taken. Professor Weinstein is a true scholar and an inspiration. The forums are fascinating! I’d recommend it heartily.

    • Louise Taylor says:

      Thank you Dale.
      I have no time to do another course at the moment but I have tagged that one for the future. I am happy to be ab inspiration.

  8. aniruddhapn says:

    I was a part of the Modern and the Postmodern MOOC in Coursera.
    I started making notes only towards the end of the course.

    I was wondering whether you have a list of all the quotes that appear in the lectures compiled.
    That would help me with a project presently.
    Great work on the notes put up in the blog btw 🙂

    • Louise Taylor says:


      Thank you for the comment. I don’t have a separate list of all the quotes unfortunately for you.
      You would need to go to each post and find them.
      Good luck with your project.

  9. Rachel says:

    Wow! Your site is fantastic, Louise. I’m taking History of Humankind and am grateful to you for posting such detailed notes. Cheers!

  10. Louise, I must be following you on coursera or you are following me! During modern and post modern, I was in awe of your blog, and now in humankind’s history, you are keeping up your wonderful work and I’m still in awe!

    • Louise Taylor says:

      I love keeping my notes this way. A lot of people thank me for the notes so it is great that I help in that way.

      • I don’t know how you find the time. I love reading your notes, not for any particular purpose, just that they look so lovely with the images and it’s a nice reminder of what we’ve done. Thanks for so generously sharing. I read that you were choosing less scientific moocs. I’ve enjoyed doing both, I did a couple of genetics ones and now climate change, but I love the humanities and social sciences and MOOCs are a very non intimidating way of trying new fields. Angela

  11. azmi says:

    Louise, I just discovered your blog and it is wonderful to see your notes on Coursea. I have been so thrilled to see so many interesting subjects available. It feels like being in a candy store with all the sweets or a library full of books. Alas, my time management is the pits. Any tips on how you manage yours.

    • Louise Taylor says:

      I was the same at first and took too many courses at once. Now I just take one at a time, sometimes with a crossover.
      I find it is best to set aside a particular hour each day to dedicate to learning. I do this first thing in the morning because after work I am too tired. If you have no time before work or school then get up earlier. Sleep will find a way of adjusting itself.
      Do everything you have to do first and then things you want to do. If you procrastinate then things wont get done.
      Eat that frog – this is my motto. I didn’t invent it but the principle is if there is one thing in a day that you have to do then do it first. So if you know you have to eat a frog then do it as soon as you wake up, without thinking about it. If you have two to eat then eat the ugly one first.

  12. Doreen says:

    Hey Louise,

    Just a head’s up: people are finding “copy-and-paste” from your blog in essays they are given to evaluate on Coursera. Maybe you should post a notification that your notes are up here to help people out but that you do not approve of using them to cheat, even if Coursera scores have no real value. It always surprises me that people do not realize just how easy it is to locate where things have been copied from on the Internet, but if those people were really clever they wouldn’t be copying in the first place, would they!

    • Louise Taylor says:

      Hello Doreen

      It is a shame how people don’t feel that they need to be original or put thought into their work. Not even to rephrasing which would actually add to their own understanding. Coursera scores are only as valuable as the individual takes them to be. They know if they deserve the score or not.

      • azmi says:

        Hi Doreen, Louise

        I guess many do not take seriously that code of honour that they signed when they registered for the course. It is sad and I do hope they would realise eventually how much joy it is to have your own work acknowledged even if it is not brilliant or the best.

      • Louise Taylor says:

        Yes Azami. I have not always had wonderful grades but at least I know it is my grade.

  13. Hibah says:

    Dear Louise,
    I’ve just entered the world of MOOCs… I found your blogs in one of the discussion forums, and I was really struck with the whole concept of an ‘e-learning blog’. It can come in quite handy at times – though I do not, of course, copy material wholesale. That, I think, is not only despicable but also very silly; still, reading an essay on a similar prompt or subject can really help one find a guiding-thread for one’s own writing.

    Moreover, as a student of MA French whose second language is English, I find your job – teaching English as a foreign language in France – of particular interest. What do you enjoy about your work, and what issues do you face?

    Good luck with everything,
    Bon courage!

    • Louise Taylor says:

      Hello Hibah
      I agree, reading a lot of essays and information can guide and inform.
      What I love about my work is helping people and meeting all the different people. Issues – hummm – that could fill a book. The things I hate mote are people not turning up and people who are not interested in learning.

  14. Trey says:

    Louise, your notes are very helpful. I enjoy them every week. I’m sure there are many of us out here who benefit from your efforts. Thank you

  15. Colin Oriti says:

    What an amazing and creative effort you are sharing with us Louise! Many thanks for your magnanimity in this respect including the assembly of all that artwork. We make monthly donations to UNICEF and support a child in World Vision, and we’ll long remember your charitable efforts in this regards. I share a similar profession but in my case I taught, until my retirement, adult ESL in Sydney Australia. I also had a part time business developing and maintaining websites and can thus say that your is excellent. Best wishes from down under, Colin.

    • Louise Taylor says:

      Thank you Colin 🙂
      I love looking for the pictures. Most of them come from reading around the subject which helps me digest it. One day I will visit Australia again. I visited once many moons ago.
      Best wishes.

  16. I have donated twenty dollars to the local educational television station as a thank you for your notes.

  17. Cynthia says:

    Louise, Thank you so much for your notes. Your graphics are wonderful and really add to the text.
    Can you tell me how you captured the text? I tried to copy the “closed captions” on the Answer video for the Q&A forum that Dr. Harari did for the Questions 1 and 2, but it wouldn’t let me paste it anywhere. I’d like to keep his answers as text.

    • Louise Taylor says:

      I use the subtitles (text). If you go to the video lectures page, on the right there are three symbols. The first one is five lines. If you hover over it is says “Subtitles (text)”. Click on that and it downloads unformatted text. Copy paste into a word document and reformat it. I do this before listening to the lecturers as there are a lot of mistakes. You need to listen and read and correct the text. Then take out all the repetitions an ‘er’s. It takes me three days to get the text into the right format and then a little more time to put is links and pictures.

  18. Marion Calleja says:

    Louise – I am amazed at the wonderful creation you have made of Dr Harari’s lectures. I was downloading and saving up to Lesson 11, but have had no success with the later ones so your blog has come as a real blessing. Thank you so much.

  19. mahesh says:

    Hi Loise,

    Thanks for the Great work. I am also your fellow student in coursera. I was planning to translate these lectures to my mother-tongue Kannada. Though google has this language as an option in translation, it is awful. I was even planning to publish it as a book (Not for money) to reach larger audiences. Do you know of any copyright works? Can I translate your work with your pictures?

    Thanks once again

    • Louise Taylor says:

      Hello Mahesh

      I think it’s a great idea to do a better translation. Google is very limited, I know this from using it to translate into either French or English. The best one I have ever used was Babylon. This was several years ago and there may be a better on now. Maybe you could use the month’s free trial of a number of them and see which one is the best. You can certainly use my notes and pictures although you would need to credit them. I am not sure if they are free for print use or only digital so you may have to check the individual authors. Please consider donating to one of the charities if you chose to use my work 🙂

      Thanks and good luck


  20. Rodel B. Salvadora says:

    Hi, I take alot of courses at Coursera including this one by Dr. Harari, is your blog related to Coursera in anyway?

    • Louise Taylor says:

      Hello Rodel

      Although the notes are from my Coursera courses I am not employed by them. I do this for my own pleasure and to help my non English speaking peers.

  21. Annette Winston says:

    Your blog is spot on, and visually appealing. Good job!

  22. Bee Vee says:

    Dear Louise:
    I have been researching “Homo sapiens sapiens” and the implications of the connection between the Neanderthals and Homo sapiens in prepartion for a Report about the Myth of Racial Superiority and the descriptors which accompany such notions as :
    “Black”, “White” are anachronicistic which have no place in the 21 st Century ! Excellent information, Many thanks for sharing your experiences. Great stuff !

  23. Inge van Dun-van den Bosch says:

    Hi Louise,
    I’ve just finished the Greek and Roman Mythology course at Coursera. I had so much fun with that course and learned so much. Your notes came in really handy! I’ve made a donation to WaterAid to thank you.
    Love from The Netherlands,

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