So here I am – a Chemical and Biomedical Engineer by major – and yet I port content online. I’ve only ever learned about distillation columns and fugacity, and so how did this jump into the open education world happen? Well, it’s…complicated.
When I was a kid, I didn’t go to school. School was something that came with a price tag – transportation, school uniform, books – all of this required money that my family didn’t have at the time (and internet wasn’t all that available where I was either). So instead of joining the young girls who went to school, eating packed lunch while chatting about the latest school gimmicks, I simply hung around the house, occasionally bothering my mother and scribbling on random sheets of paper. When I did start school at the age of about 9 or 10 (after arriving in the US), I was ecstatic! I didn’t know what was going on in classes or what people were speaking, but everything was unreal and felt amazing. I remember missing the school bus once, and I cried that whole day because I couldn’t get to school. Going to school meant being surrounded by students of my age who were learning the same thing, eating school lunch (and drinking chocolate milk!), and even if I wasn’t the best student, I was still a student. That meant the world to me.
In my junior year of college, along came Varun and OpenCurriculum. We were neighbors for months, and only spoke about halfway through the fall semester. Initial introduction to OpenCurriculum came from surveys and questionnaires Varun made to see how users responded to it. I didn’t know the details of OpenCurriculum then, but the conception was one I was always willing to help with. Providing a free books and materials for education to people, everywhere, was something I was going to support to my full ability; and so it went from there. From taking surveys about online data to finding online curricula to porting data, I came to where I was today as part of the OpenCurriculum team. My hope is that someone somewhere will find the content online and use it to learn whatever they can so they don’t just scribble and play around the house the whole day.
I guess the story wasn’t all that complicated.