Back to School?

All this reading and writing have made me consider going back to school. Yes, I know I'm currently on LOA from Capella, buying me some time until I make a final decision on my doctorate program. But, this is different.

Introduction to Neuroscience
When I first discovered Judy Willis, I was taken back to my first MS degree attempt - TESOL. Before I withdrew from the program, I had taken a couple of classes on examining brain activity in bilinguals. I never pursued studies in neuroscience, but it has always been at the back of my mind.

Music and Neuroscience
Reading Oliver Sacks' book seemed to be another prompt, only now it was music and the brain. After 3 different prompts to consider neuroscience, do I dare wait for a fourth?
Pursuing another degree is out of the question, even if it would be fun! I've almost reached my aggregate limit on student loans, we don't have any of our own funds to put me through another degree program, and most importantly, could you imagine the look my husband would give me? But, still I wanted to learn more about neuroscience and possibly the psychology of music.

The Search
I began a search on the internet for a regionally accredited school that would offer a online certificate program, thinking I could use my remaining loan funds on a 3 to 6-month program. All the ones I found were at obscurely named schools or were too expensive. Then I discovered MIT's Open Courseware.
They offer courses in almost any subject including music theory and neuroscience. These are courses that had been offered in the last few years, but the syllabi have been updated. Rather than discard the old lesson plans, MIT is offering the courses free to the public.
The benefits are the courses are free and offered through MIT. The disadvantages are the courses are no longer accredited and there are no certificates of completion.

The Plan
At this point, I'm thinking I will take MIT's courses in Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Music and Theater Arts. I think if I keep track of which courses I have taken, I can list them as professional development.
I also found an international certification in Music Theory that I can attempt quarterly. I'm not sure if that is something I want to pursue, but I'm glad to know the option is there. Of course, the certification exam is neither free nor covered by financial aid, but the price is reasonable. The next exam is offered in February so I have time to determine if I am financially and academically prepared.

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