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The Insider’s Guide to Online Learning

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LAN writer Win Phyo reviews Planetizen Courses and reviews their “Healthy Urban Food Systems: Planning Retail Facilities” course. Last week, I had the privilege of trying out one of the online courses from Planetizen. These days, there are many online resources available that allow you to take classes at your own leisure to further expand your skills and your mind. As indecisive as I can be, I do often spend time trailing around multiple websites, getting excited about topics that may not even be related to landscape architecture or design, but more on the idea of getting the chance to learn something new.

Online Learning

At a time of transition from being a student to joining the workforce, I would much rather benefit from expanding my knowledge about topics that relate to design. When the Planetizen online courses fell into my hands, I knew I was onto something special. WATCH Sample: AutoCAD 101 – Introduction FYI If you didn’t know already, Planetizen is equivalent to a big brain resource that distributes and connects readers with recent news and discussions about planning, design, and development issues “from transportation to climate change, architecture to infrastructure, housing and community development to historic preservation.” The fact that their posts are so diverse and spark encouraging debates meant I knew I probably wouldn’t be disappointed by their courses. Choices, Choices, Choices… There are many options, ranging from software courses that allow you to improve your technical skills to topic-related courses that touch on the more traditional issues to the hot issues that arise today that we need to be more informed about. The software courses vary from the usual Adobe Creative Suites programs for beginners to advanced, 3D modeling, ArcGIS, Google Earth mapping, and even a course on how to make interactive documents on iBooks (who knew?) or a how-to on video recording as a tool for planning. WATCH sample: Drawing in the Landscape: Pen, Pencil and Watercolor – The Sunset Panorama

I also found it very encouraging to see courses that related to “Disaster Planning,” “Hazard Mitigation,” “Social Media,” and “Tactical Urbanism,” as this means as the core part of the site informs the public on trending topics, Planetizen must also be making sure these topics are expanded on with research and expertise to teach readers like us.

Healthy Urban Food Systems: Planning Retail Facilities | Online Learning Review

I chose a course named “Healthy Urban Food Systems: Planning Retail Facilities” because my own interest in learning more about food systems and urban agriculture is growing. I decided to find out more about how planning plays an important role in promoting healthy food access in urban communities. WATCH: Healthy Urban Food Systems: Planning Retail Facilities – Introduction Short and Concise Listed underneath each course is how long it should take to complete. Another encouraging thing about the courses is that they keep them short and concise, most varying from 30 to 90 minutes. Since they are all video recorded, each chapter of the course is even split into separate timings. “Introduction is two minutes?” “Background and Context is only ten minutes?” I am not sure if it is almost a necessity for the instructors to make each course fit into these time restraints, but I felt enthusiastic about the prospect of knowing the diversity of topics that are covered in the chapters. WATCH sample: GIS Essentials: An Introduction

More online learning for eager beavers

This meant that for learning an unfamiliar topic for the first time, I would be able to find out a lot of information in a short period of time without going into too many off-putting facts way too quickly. Don’t worry, though — not all courses are like this. For those who want to keep expanding on the course they have chosen, certain large courses are split into different parts to ensure you are getting the best-educated response. Credible Instructors The great thing about the quality you are getting from Planetizen courses is the fact that not only does their website seem to be a whole network of information from credible sources, their courses are also done in collaboration with professionals from many fields and achievements. There is a fine balance between professors with research/teaching backgrounds and professionals with practical experiences under their belt. You need that balance to really be able to learn a great deal. A Positive Experience  My experience with the instructor in Healthy Urban Food Systems was a positive one. She was concise in manner and made a great deal of effort to vary her footages. It wasn’t your typical white-board-and-marker classroom, nor did I expect it to be like this in any other dynamic courses Planetizen offered. More Than Just a Whiteboard Experience She took me through her typical bullet-pointed slides in some circumstances and, much to my happiness, she went out into the field of farmer’s market, food vendors, supermarkets, and corner stores to carry out interviews and link her knowledge in a practical sense. It gave an enormous insight and shed a reality light onto the pressing issues related to food systems in urban areas. WATCH sample: Planning Ethics – Introduction All in all, after taking the 56-minute course, I really felt challenged with thoughts and newfound aspects to another issue related to design and planning that I probably would not have recognized had I not taken the course. Learning is such a big part of our culture, and seeing this big move from classrooms to these digital, knowledge-sharing resources is a positive way to learn about the comings and goings of our spaces. To be taken to another part of the world in the comfort of my own house and having the freedom to stop and play the videos in my own time really made a difference. Planetizen is a growing community that I feel is committed to teaching and spreading our understanding of functionality of places and communities. From an annual pricing at $12 per month, what can go wrong? I am sure you will learn something new.

See the full range of their online learning courses here. Review by Win Phyo Return to Homepage

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