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Completing a Coursera Specialization for Free

Coursera provides continuing education just like Udacity and offer the full learning experience that I am accustomed to, including lesson videos, reading materials, projects, discussion forums, and graded projects which are peer-reviewed. I recently completed the Full-stack Web Development in React specialization from Coursera, all for free. It’s called a specialization because it is made up of three courses below each with their own certifications and which takes 4-6 weeks each to complete: 1. Front-End Web UI Frameworks and Tools: Bootstrap 4 2. Front-End Web Development with React 3. Server-side Development with NodeJS, Express and MongoDB I started the program in December 2021 and finished it in June 2023 however. The intent of this post is to explain how I was able to fund the entire specialization for free. In December 2021, I read on social media that Coursera allowed for one free course per year if you were a student and had an email address from a partner school. I gave my stu

3 Apps to Monitor and Control Your Kid's Mobile Usage

If you are like most parents with young kids, you will most likely have run into issues prying mobile devices and tablets away from your kids’ hands. In my house, my kids are only allowed to use these devices on weekends and only for a maximum of 2 hours. This is easier said than done however and they end up sacrificing quality time on their other activities so that they can get back to whatever it is they do on these devices. I heard at the school of a mobile app that they used widely to curb these addictions with kids and technology and thought about trying it out. The app was OurPact. I have other devices to manage however so I had to hunt around for others. The apps listed below allows for a trial period which then converts to a freeware license with a limit of 1 device that can be managed indefinitely. Here are the top 3 that I am using for both my iOS and Android devices:

• OurPact
• Kidslox
• Qustodio

 The setup was fairly similar among these apps, with a parent and child component to install. A VPN profile is pushed out for Kidlox and device certificates for the others. I liked OurPact the most because of the fast two button key stroke to disable my kid’s device. There also appears to be no limit where the other two blocked too many uses of the block/grant feature. I was able to navigate around this limit by using the time restriction schedule available in all 3 apps. By restricting usage to specific times of the day, it worked the same as sending a remote lock request to my kids’ devices. It just took a lot more keystrokes. Qustodio sends me daily email reports which I’m sure I can tailor but didn’t bother. The other two didn’t spam me which I appreciated and because I personally didn’t need to know what they were using the devices for, just that they stopped using them when I ask them to. The overall winner for me is OurPact.


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