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  • Writer's pictureJohn Lim

MF 315 : Moving forward with mini-courses, e-lectures, and virtual networking

Updated: Jun 16, 2022

Today, we look at some wonderful ways to engage a skill or passion with online courses offered by universities and libraries. More at

Moving Forward is also available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, Spotify, and now Amazon Music.

Online courses

It’s an age-old conundrum. Too many emails and not enough time to scan, much less read through them all. While I need to do some serious virtual house cleaning of the email lists I’m subscribed to, and you may as well, I’m going to share one set of emails you should pay attention to.

The ones from your school.

I graduated from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in December 2013, coming up on 7 years (yikes, where did that time go?!?). While that will likely mark my last formal graduate education degree-wise, I still love learning. I’m the type of guy who will spend his retirement years happily attending lectures on a cruise ship or a community college on random topics. However, I recently discovered that I don’t have to wait that long to satisfy that learning itch.

Since last spring, JHU has been sending emails to alum with various online offerings. I mostly ignored these until a few weeks ago when one caught my eye. It was an announcement about on mini-courses for a program called “Hopkins at Home;” a series of Zoom classes on topics ranging from music appreciation to literature to science. I scanned through the list and one that caught my eye was “An Evening of Jazz.” It was a three-lecture class scheduled every other Monday evening in September. And, it was free.

As a recent jazz lover over the past few years, I didn’t have to think twice. I signed up for the class. Unfortunately, I had already missed first two live sessions but they recorded the lectures so I was able to catch up over a weekend. The classes were fantastic, covering the history of jazz, technical aspects of the genre, and introducing me to musicians, both familiar and new, to expand my musical palette.

Our “textbook” was a Spotify playlist which I’ve linked below so you can check it out:

I so enjoyed this class that I decided to enroll in another and am currently taking a course on the history of segregation and civil rights in medicine. While I formerly studied history and law, I never had a chance to delve into healthcare so this is a new area for me. This seminar is a four-lecture course, held every Thursday and so far, it’s been really eye-opening.

Finally, I decided to participate in a networking program called “Coffee and Conversations,” in which Hopkins connects you to a fellow alum to connect over Skype or Zoom call. I had my first one on Friday with a graduate from the engineering school and thoroughly enjoyed having the chance to meet someone new and learn about a wholly different field.

If you’re looking to learn a new skill or topic or just want an escape from the day-to-day, explore similar offerings from your school. If you’re interested in the Hopkins at Home program, many of the free mini-courses are open to the general public. Check it out.


In addition to colleges and universities, you’ll find many online events through your local library, including standard lectures to reading clubs to writing groups. Last week, I discovered my local library was holding a one hour concert of showtunes. I decided to attend and enjoyed having it play in the background while I was working from home.

Here’s what my library is offering this month.

We’re all getting a little fatigued with Zoom calls, video conferencing, and virtual work conferences so the idea of adding more virtual events may not sound appealing at first. But take it from me, it’s a wholly different and refreshing experience when it comes to learning something new or nurturing your artistic side. Give it a try.

What I’m reading / read

  1. The Boys Omnibus Vol. 1 by Garth Ennis (****)

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