Published: 16th October 2020
Meet the MSc student from Kochi who has broken a world record by completing 1000 online courses in 100 days
Arathi Reghunath spent most of her lockdown days enrolling in various courses on Coursera to help utilise her time better and be productive in the best possible way
At first glance, it seemed like one day in Arathi Reghunath’s life may have more hours than the rest of us. How else does one complete 1000 online courses in the span of 100 days? The second year student of MSc Biochemistry at MES College in Kochi created a world record in the Universal Record Forum (URF) when she initially completed 350 courses in 3 months. But a week ago, she beat her own record.
Arathi has been a lifelong learner and credits her teachers for her passionate love for science. “I have loved Chemistry since I was in the eighth standard, thanks to the teacher who taught the subject. This love endured for so long that I chose Science in the eleventh standard and went on to learn Chemistry for three more years for my degree. I never really enjoyed learning Biology. To be honest, I only chose Biochemistry for postgraduation because I wanted to challenge myself.”
CLASS ACT: Most of the courses were on Coursera
When their college closed on March 10 due to the Coronavirus and the resulting lockdown, Arathi grabbed every book she could find in their library. And when the lockdown went on for longer than she had expected, she had already finished reading all of them. When classes resumed in June, their school principal introduced teachers and students of the institution to explore courses on the learning platform Coursera.
And for Arathi, it was love at first sight.
“The first course I completed was in line with my own syllabus,” she says, “Since I didn’t have access to a library at the time, I wanted to refer to more learning material online. We were studying Metabolism and typed it out on the website. I found videos and notes that had all the information I needed. Biology courses are typically longer in duration, so it took four weeks to complete it with exams and all.”
Following this, she learnt a number of courses including Computer Science, Computer Programming, a programme based on Google, History, Psychology, Philosophy, Art, etc. When she initially submitted her certificates to the URF, she had already signed up for various other courses in addition to the 350 she had completed. Currently, her record stands at 520 courses in 88 days and the Forum is in the process of updating the latest record.
How does one juggle a full time Masters programme and devote so much time to online classes? “My classes begin at 9 am and go on up to a maximum of 1 pm. It doesn’t take more than an average of 4 hours since a lot of students have connectivity issues. I wake up at 5 am each day. So I use the time from then to when I fall asleep to keep myself engaged and constantly learning.”
But having conquered the virtual medium, Arathi is not its biggest fan. In her last academic year, she misses the connection that she had with teachers that made her fall in love with Science in the first place. For her, the online classes were just a way of utilising her time while she was unable to physically go to college.
And what has been her biggest lesson from this unending learning process? “I think we need to learn about things that may not interest us. Think of this pandemic we are living in. So many of us were caught off guard when it happened. Learning about it and knowing how it happens could have eased the anxiety and fear it spread among many of us. So you must dedicate time to the things you love and for the things you don’t fully understand. There is always room for these things if you make the time.”