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Not long ago, I was wandering around the FreedomWorks site, searching for inspiration for a new article. I read a few posts from my fine fellow-writers, spent a bit of time poking around FreedomConnector to see how other folks were using that resource, and then a tiny link on my FC dashboard page caught my attention. It said, "University"
"Aroo?", I thought to my self (Yes, my brain sounds like Scooby Doo when I'm puzzled. Don't judge me!). "University?" (tweetable) So I clicked and what to my wondering eyes should appear but an entire page called Freedom University! I wrote a little bit about Freedom U in my pre-Thanksgiving Day post, but I wanted to spend a little more time with it because I believe it's a very useful resource that could use more attention.
First, let me quote a bit of what I wrote last week:
Did you know FreedomWorks has its very own educational video series? It does, and you can get through an entire course in an easy afternoon. I recommend you start with the seven-part course on Economics, which will take you through the basics of incentives, entrepreneurism, and plenty more. FreedomWorks has done quite a good job setting up each course to work like a regular college tele-course, with quizzes and tests to make sure you understand the subject. Once you’ve knocked out the economics course, you can step up to other courses on government or move to their solid beginner’s courses on activism.
As I wrote, you do need to register for your own FreedomConnector account to take the courses, but the account is free and you can pay as much or little attention to it as you wish (though I do recommend you at least look at what you can do with it). Right now, there are six courses, which you can take in various combinations to earn one of two different degrees. I hope FreedomWorks plans to expand their offerings, but I expect their plans will depend largely on how much demand there is for more. Here is where you come in.
I listed three groups of people who I believe would benefit greatly from Freedom University. If you fall into one or more of these groups, why not take a look at the courses? If you don't think you can benefit, take a look anyhow and share what you find with someone you know who does fall into one of those groups. Ready? Let's begin.
1) Homeschoolers. Whether you teach two kids or are part of a homeschool co-op, you can always use well-prepared and free resources for your classroom. Though not all of the courses at Freedom University would work well in a classroom setting, the courses on economics and civil liberties would. The courses are modular, which allows you to pick and choose with parts of each course you want to use. For example, you might want to use only the introductory parts for younger students while high-school students might get the entire course. As well, you could bring in the "Competition and Monopoly" part of the "Understanding Economics" course to supplement a history class on the Sherman Antitrust Act. Freedom U makes a great supplment to your own lesson plans.
2) Activist Leaders. If you lead an activist group, one of the larger problems you have is how to train new activists. Most likely your group isn't large nor does it have a truckload of money to spend. Your time is divided among the myriad duties you have, your new recruits all have lives and jobs and families, and scheduling is likely to be just short of nightmarish. Why not take advantage of Freedom Connector and the "Mastering Activism with FreedomConnector" course? Set up a FreedomConnector group for your group and get all your new folks gathered in one online place. From there, you can distribute training material, poll people about good times to meet, and point people to good links and videos to give them the sort of information you want about your group. Be sure to start your new folks on the course so they'll know how to use FreedomConnector to interact with you there.
3) New Media Creators. Let's face it, there are times when you run dry for useful things to post on your blog. The news can sometimes be slow, you're tired of cat pictures and videos of skateboarders face-planting off stairway railings, and...ugh. Let Freedom University spark some ideas for you. Sign up for one of the courses, take in a video, make a few notes on the things that strike you as interesting, and blog on you crazy diamond! Everyone needs the occasional source of writing inspiration. Freedom University can be one of those sources for you. Of course, you can always link back to the course that inspired the post and when you do, let us know so we can share your work with our friends and followers!
Freedom University is one of FreedomWorks' hidden gems I'd like to see expanded in 2014 and beyond. (tweetable) Perhaps if you all take a course and, if you like it, share it with folks you know, we'll raise a loud enough ruckus for that to happen. What do you say?