Exploration of Place: MasterClass

MasterClass is a website that provides access to courses that are lead by leaders of various industries. It provides a more intimate experience with the “Masters” as they walk students through the foundations of their craft. From cooking, to public speaking, celebrities and professionals are able to share their experiences as if students were speaking with them one – on – one. Oddly enough, this somehow feels more personalized than watching a video on YouTube or than watching a special on TV. The content varies in length. However, most of these lecturers provide around 2 to 6 hours of content which walks students through a unique curriculum. In these classes, it is important to note that these classes are not taken by individuals seeking a particular grade but are taken strictly for the purposes of personal interest and professional development. Perhaps, as people explore their interests and are given choice in their education, grades become less important as their own personal goals are more defined.
Notice the topics of these courses. These 3 lecturers are categorized under science and technology. However, the titles of their courses are not entirely geared towards science but are much more holistic and generalized, demonstrating that science can cross disciplines and provide lessons for people who wish to apply these skills in difference contexts. “Teaching Conservation” not only will touch upon environmental science, but it teaches about human behavior and how we interact with our world. “Mathematical Thinking” does not have to be used solely in the context of science but is critical for use across all industries. Mathematics is a universal language. All people have access to this language and should understand how to use it in every discipline as it is the only way that we can demonstrate comprehension of data which is critical when identifying problems and making decisions.
Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of the figures in science that has kept my passion and interest in the sciences as he promotes endless curiosity and manages to make even mundane topics in science seem interesting. Sometimes, students are more inclined to listen to figures that they have seen on TV or in their lives outside of the classroom. In addition, the instructors of these courses have a clear passion and excitement for the subject they teach. It is a good tool to use others excitement to help spark excitement in students or to help students think harder about “simpler” things.
Notice that Neil deGrasse Tyson does not teach a “Science” class here. Instead, he teaches the topic of scientific thinking and communication. Communication is one the the biggest issues that the science community faces right now as there seems to be an abundance of confusion about the reliability of data, breaking down of scientific concepts for all people to understand, and providing a clear basis for making decisions. Again, it is critical that these topics be taught holistically and in an interdisciplinary manner. Science, policy, history, and mathematics do not work independently outside of the classroom after all.
The arts are explored on this platform as well. By the arts, I don’t necessarily just mean music but there are actual art classes as well as cooking classes and more. The presence of this content emphasizes equal important across disciplines. While science and technology appear to dominate the space when it comes to academics and forward thinking, the arts are equally as important for certain individuals who desire skillsets to pursue careers in these areas. In addition, having access to these classes allows for viewers to see that equal importance and emphasis is placed on the arts along with the sciences.
This image shows the categories available on the platform. Each category houses courses taught by some of the most influential and “famous” people in their respective fields. I want to emphasize that fame is not the driving factor. These courses are not intended to flaunt fame but they are designed to allow a greater connection between people and provide almost as a virtual mentorship in a sense. There is no topic that a student cannot find that will strike even a small interest. I believe this platform can be used to spark such interest.
This image bothers me a bit. While I know that things with value must have a price, it bothers me that people should have to pay to learn. Yes, we must invest in ourselves to be successful but $20 a month may be too expensive for many people. To me, certain fields should invest their own money to attract talent and train interested individuals. Perhaps for roles that benefit the public, these courses could be covered as the value provided will be reflected in the performance of the future workers in that field. I believe that a drive to educate is different than a Netflix subscription, and that there should be more options for people to seek funding for educational services that extend beyond colleges and universities.

4 thoughts on “Exploration of Place: MasterClass

    1. Totally agree… it’s tough to see this thing work unless there are free trials. Also kind of reinforces a hierarchy system of celebrities being on the top and profiting off of people who make a lot less than them…

  1. This is my first time hearing about this digital platform. It is very interesting but seems to give an unfair advantage to people who cannot afford it. So for the question of what is less possible with it, is that it is not accessible to the entire population and worldwide community.
    I wish learning opportunities like this were free as they could be beneficial for all.

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