An institution that cares

Up until a couple of months ago I had never been interested in taking part in anything related to technology, but thanks to one of those magic ads on Facebook a platform I had never heard about before was introduced into my life.

I have always been interested in languages, activism, the human mind, art… bottom line, not in a bunch of codes. So why now?

The honest truth? I have no idea. I just know I couldn’t be happier. Parker J Palmer once said “Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am”, I think that’s what happened to me. Life made the path clear, and all I had to do from there was follow it.

So, you might be asking, what is the name of this platform I keep talking about? The answer is: OpenClassrooms!

The ‘What?’

I think the term “Education Revolution” couldn’t have defined them better. In my own words, and in simple terms, OC is an online learning platform that understands the individuality of their students and adapts to every single one of their needs. For numbers, information about their partners or more general information you can visit their page here.

The ‘How?’

The How depends on the Who! Who are you? What are you looking for? What language do you speak? Based on these questions you can determine your How! As I said, OpenClassrooms doesn’t draw any barriers.

This being said, the most clear Hows are the courses and the paths.

  • The Courses

If you want more knowledge of one particular area of development, or if you want to simply learn for the fun of learning, they have that! After all, that’s how I started, one of their packages, the Premium Solo, provided me with the chance to dip my toes in the waters of coding and from there, the magic happened on it’s own. But, just a heads-up: Be prepared to want more, I am sure only one course won’t be enough!

  • The Paths

Depending on what language you speak, and what your interests are, they provide us with actual accreditation, which is done as your own speed, in your time, and from the comfort of wherever you find your safe place to be. They prepare you for the ‘real world’, with a set of courses, activities, mentor-ship session, and projects. You come out of each learning path, not only with a Bachelor degree (sometimes even a Master!!) but also with a portfolio. They talk more about this ‘best of both worlds’ mixture here.

The ‘Why’

Or maybe, I should say the list of Whys, because there are certainly more than one! Actually, I am sure there are more than the 9 I wrote below – 9 projects in my path, 9 main reasons why I am in love with my education! (If you have any more Whys I would love to hear them in the comments below – and while you are it, please let me know any other thoughts about this article!)

 

    1. I have never been a particularly big fan of the traditional education system, I believe it is full with things that need to be fixed, but OC clearly goes beyond that system, or beyond any system for that matters. The online learning world in general is a world that is a step above the traditional one, eliminating most barriers. Let’s start with distance: Not all of us live in a place where the type of education we want is provided. Whether you are a fan of the country side or a big city lover, as long as you have Internet OpenClassrooms is for you. No buts, nor ifs. I particularly have traveled the world looking for my “Great Perhaps”. I’ve considered multiple careers and studied their pros and cons and never been fully content, until I found OC.
    2. Benjamin Franklin once said that “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”, but my dad also used to say that without money is hard to invest in anything. I’ve spent the last 3 years saving any sort of salary, allowance or help from family and even strangers to pay for an education. Learning has always been the greatest gift anyone could give me, but with education nowadays costing over 20.000 dollars per year it was nearly impossible to make any sort of dream come true without putting my life in debts, until a couple of months ago, when I found this platform. It was crazy to finally find a bachelor with a stipulated time of 12 months (instead of 5 years) and to know that I could afford it was even crazier. OpenClassrooms is not only insanely good, it is also insanely affordable! 
    3. I have never seen a platform, and at this point I don’t only mean the educational ones, that is as transparent about all of their processes as this one. They count with an amazing education tool, so amazing that they utilize it even to explain to upcoming employees about how everything works in the company; but these courses are PUBLIC. There is no hiding, no secrecy, nothing. They believe in transparency, which makes me believe in them. Mathieu Nebra himself, the co-founder, says it in this article: “I don’t think of it as confidential because you can’t just copy culture. This is every day’s ground work.”
    4. We all learn differently, some of us prefer listening, some watching, some doing, some reading. It is human nature, we are all different and we all understand the world differently. And here, they teach you in all ways, at all times. No matter who you are, or how you learn, they got you covered!
    5. I never understood the importance of having someone there until now. I’ve always been quite self-sufficient, and I do think that is a quality that has a helped me immensely throughout my studies in general but here, you are never alone. One word: Mentorship. At the beginning of the path you get a personal mentor who helps you get yourself sorted throughout your whole learning process. Let’s accept it, anything tech related can be very frustrating at times. But you get someone who is not just qualified but who also makes the difference. It is almost like having someone to hold your hand and show you were to step when you get scared. To me, this is one of the most game-changing Whys. Read more on the importance of mentorship here.
    6. I’ll be very honest, human interactions terrify me. I am a little bundle of anxiety at times so, as you can imagine, life can get a bit scary from time to time in places with too much people like schools or big universities. But of course, not at OC, at OC you get to interact with your classmates and learn from them with tools like Workplace. You get to become a part of somebody’s learning without feeling overwhelmed by it. “At your own pace” to me means more than the speed of each course, it relates to the speed of your own life.
    7. Practice, practice, practice!! I said it before and I say it again: You have no idea how relevant a portfolio is!! Coding is like art; it doesn’t matter how much you know if you can’t apply it. The projects and activities that OC provides you with are not only a chance for you to test your theoretical knowledge; they are a chance for you to build a portfolio that helps you get a job. OpenClassrooms is the perfect place to let your dream education help you achieve your dream job.
    8. Learning how JS work, or how to design a UML diagram is great!! But OC can offer you courses that prepare you not only academically, but also for life! Courses like Understanding the Web or Stay Up to Date on Technology go beyond the codes and diagrams. They teach you where to start and where to go. What else could you want?
    9. ACCREDITATION! You have no idea how thankful I was I could simply learn this much, but the second I read the words Bachelor Degree and even Master I was beyond baffled, this meant that these amazing courses could give me the degree I’ve been wanting for so long. Honestly, my mind is still amazed at this all. Learn more about how their accreditation works here.

And the bonus, #10, because this is not a direct Why, but it is definitely something that has reassured me on how right I am on this decision every single day on this path. How thoughtful, supportive and kind every single staff member is. I’ve never felt more cared by, nor have I ever felt more heard. Each and every single one of them has been beyond amazing to me. From mentors, to the student adviser and the actual co-founder! Every single one has made the difference.

Bottom line, this is not a promo, nor an attempt to persuade anyone. This is simply a testimony. So, dear readers: Thank you for hearing me out. And if by chance anyone in the platform is reading; dear Rebeccah, Pablo, Pierre, Mathieu, Emma, Emily, every single person involved, and dear classmates: THANK YOU for making history by being part of this Education Revolution and letting me see the magic happen! I hope to see you all grow day by day.

“Online learning is not the next big thing, it is the now big thing.”

– Donna J. Abernathy

2 thoughts on “An institution that cares

  1. A good article of putting in the spotlight the new era of education through this kind of online degree courses. It was a pleasure for me to read this testimony. I am thinking to start a path career with OpenClassroom. Thank you and I really appreciated, Stephanie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am incredibly glad I was able to provide some insight on such an important topic! Happy to say I have succesfully graduated from my studies with OpenClassrooms. I wish you the best in your future endeavors with technology.

      Like

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