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Class Central

Learn with Class Central: Join our Study Group

Class Central is experimenting with an unofficial semi-synchronous study group for the Mountains 101 course from University of Alberta. Join us at group.classcentral.com

Six months ago, members of Class Central’s team formed a remote study group to take online courses together. Initially, we were a group of four. Now, we’re seven. So far, we’ve finished five courses on Coursera, edX and FutureLearn, and are currently taking our sixth.

We’ve documented our study group’s experience in The Report:

Class Central Study Group

Now, we want to expand this experiment by inviting learners from all over the world to join our study group. Just last week, our founder Dhawal Shah wrote about his experience taking MOOCs in 2012 as part of a vibrant global community with tens of thousands of learners.

Unfortunately, in 2021, these experiences are rare, to say the least. But, maybe we can somehow recreate this feeling of a global community of learners?

The plan is simple:

  1. We choose a course which is completely free.
  2. We create a course schedule to make progress together.
  3. We discuss the course and support each other on a dedicated discussion forum.

We will promote this study group to Class Central’s large audience. Hopefully a large enough group of interested learners will come together and make the experience a blast!

The Course: Mountains 101

The course we’ve chosen is Mountains 101 from the University of Alberta, Canada. It’s taught by Zac Robinson and David Hik. According to Class Central learners who have reviewed it over 500 times, it is one of our highest rated online courses of all time.

The course is available on the Coursera platform and is free-to-audit. This means, we can access all the course material and assignments without paying for a certificate. If you want to earn a certificate, you will have to upgrade your subscription.

Our colleague @pat, veteran of 100+ courses, already finished this course way back in 2017, and she has a lot of good things to say about it. You can read her in-depth review here.

The Schedule

The study group will start on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 and will go through the course in 4 weeks. This means, we will take 3 lessons per week. The course has a total workload of about 18 hours, which amounts to about 4–5 hours per week. Here is the schedule: 

Week 1

Wednesday, May 12 – Tuesday, May 18:

  • Lesson 1: Why Mountains Matter 
  • Lesson 2: Origins
  • Lesson 3: Climate

Week 2

Wednesday, May 19 – Tuesday, May 25:

  • Lesson 4: Bodies at Altitude
  • Lesson 5: Water Towers
  • Lesson 6: Glaciers

Week 3

Wednesday May 26 – Tuesday, June 1:

  • Lesson 7: Imagination
  • Lesson 8: Hazards
  • Lesson 9: Mountain Biodiversity and Adaptations of Plants

Week 4

Wednesday, June 2 – Tuesday, June 8:

  • Lesson 10: Animal Adaptations
  • Lesson 11: Use and Preservation
  • Lesson 12: Future Mountains

Discussion Group

Since this is an experiment, we decided to go with a “no-code” approach for the discussion forum. We choose Discourse, a popular open-source forum software. We have heard it’s been used in the past by educational institutions like Udacity.

But instead of hosting it ourselves, we are paying Discourse a monthly fee to host it for us. We are still figuring out the configuration, so please bear with us if you face any issues. For questions related to the study group itself, post it in the Meta category.

Join us

Step 1

Let’s get started: Signup for the course on Coursera!

Go to Mountains 101. Click on the “Go to Class” button. You will be directed to Coursera. Once there, click on the “Enroll for Free” button, log in or sign up,  and choose “Full Course, No Certificate” in the pop-up window to audit the course at no costs. 

Step 2

Let’s connect: Signup on group.classcentral.com

The study group will live in our forum. Register for it here. There, you will be able to ask questions about the course, share your comments with fellow learners, and discuss your impressions of the course material. We hope we’ll have a great time learning together.

Step 3

Let’s get to know each other: Introduce yourself!

After signing up please read the code of conduct and introduce yourself to the learning community. We also created a special category to post your own photos and experiences with mountains.

We are very excited about Class Central’s very first open study group! Remember this is an experiment.  We’ll tweak things as we go along. Let’s see where this takes us.

See you there!

Heba Ledwon Profile Image

Heba Ledwon

Heba was the Business Development and Partnerships Specialist at Class Central. She worked closely with businesses and universities to provide the most possible value for the Class Central community.

Comments 17

  1. Ron Lewin

    I registered today ,do I start the class today or wait until May 12 and start with the group? Ron Lewin

    • Dhawal Shah

      Hi Ron,

      Thanks for joining the group!

      Feel free to start now if you want to and get a bit ahead. But generally the discussions directly related to the course contents will start around May 12th.


      • Meron

        I just wanna ask . does the course offer financial aid?

        • Dhawal Shah

          It probably should, but you need to confirm with Coursera. The course is completely free to audit, but the certificate is paid.

  2. Yonas Muluneh

    I’m very excited to start . I hope it’s going to be a great journey

  3. Mohammed Saif Ali

    What is in it for us, if we join the study group??

  4. Fatimah Mahfuoz Muhammad

    I’m very excited to start . I hope it’s going to be a great journey

  5. Sarah FitzGerald

    Sorry, won’t be able to audit Mountains 101 after all. Don’t see a link to unenroll though. Please do that for me if you can.

  6. dalchemist

    Are there any existing study groups for one of the following courses:

    Data Structures
    Machine Learning
    Deep Learning

    If not, is there any plan for having these?

    I guess, there will be sufficient crowd for these topics (anything 10+ would be quite manageable as long as the members turn up).

    If required, I can suggest/create outline for a good course based on these topics.

    Please let me know.

    • Dhawal Shah

      We definitely want to expand to more courses in the future. This was the first time, so we chose something non-technical to have a broader appeal, figure out the best way to run a study group, and learn the ins and outs of Discourse (the forum software).

      Maybe you can join the Study group and create a post in the “Meta” category with your course suggestions? https://group.classcentral.com/c/meta/


  7. Atanas Nikolov

    I do have registered. I am from Bulgaria, Europe (the Eastern part). I hope it will be great experience for all of us!

  8. Obika Anointing

    Hi I’m obika Anointing from Nigeria and I am willing to join the learning group

  9. Joy

    Am looking forward to join in this journey

  10. Joy

    Since I register today when will I be joining the classes

  11. Suraj Sinha


    This course is something I am not interested in right now. I am mainly focussing on analytics field. In future, if anything comes up related to data analytics I will be more then happy to join.

  12. Odeme Samuel

    Am happy to join you but are there courses related to meteorology


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