Most of my regular readers are probably tired of me talking about Udacity and I promise you that they only play a small part in this post. My wife has watched me spending a lot of my time studying my coursework and doing homework. She’s certainly seen how frustrated I’ve been at times. So when she told me she was thinking about taking an online course, I was very surprised.

My wife has very little interest in computers, software or even technology. For her computers come in two flavors, the ones that work and the ones that don’t. That’s a little unfair to say because she has created at least three very nice websites before everything was automated but when it comes to technology, my mother-in-law has more interest than my wife. So when my wife brought the subject of on-line courses up, I wondered what kind of course she was interested in.  Of course I was still thinking technology, I should have known.

Oxford offers on-line courses. Yes, that Oxford. They’re not free and they’re not technology related. My wife has decided to take a course on Ancient Viking Culture. Being honest with myself, it’s doubtful that what I learn in my Udacity courses will ever be used in my career.  The web apps might someday be used to improve my blog but I’m not likely to get rich off my blog either. I’m taking these courses because I enjoy learning and these were subjects I found interesting. While the subjects are very different, our motives seem to be identical.

Over the next eight weeks she will be doing detailed lessons on a long dead culture. During that time she will have to study just as hard as I have been.  She will have to do as much or more homework as I’ve had to. When she’s finished she will have gained a lot of knowledge and get a certificate for her efforts. In both our cases the knowledge gained carries far more weight than the certificate.

As far as I know, she has no aspirations to teach.  As much as I take my metal detector across our property, it’s very unlikely that the Vikings made it into Texas. In all the games of trivial pursuit I’ve played (admittedly very few), I’ve never seen a single question on Vikings. Certainly the subject of Viking culture has never come up at work.  My wife is choosing to spend her time and money in pursuit of knowledge strictly for the sake of that knowledge.

I often don’t understand what motivates her. I don’t understand her love of history but I have to say I’m very, very proud of my wife right now.

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