Mentor Community Spotlight: Dimitris

It sounded too difficult and official, so I thought I didn’t have what it takes to become a Mentor

Our spotlight this week on Dimitris who is a Mentor for Ancient Philosophy: Aristotle and his Successors

Share something about yourself

Hello everyone! My name is Dimitris Bourtzis and I am 19 years old. I was born in Thessaloniki but I am currently living in Athens, the capital city of Greece, where I also happen to study German Language and Literature at the University of Athens. I have always loved learning foreign languages as a tool to communicate with other people and learn their culture (obviously, I have a specific interest in German Language but I love English too!). When I have free time, I usually hang out with friends. When I don’t, I listen to music, read books and I also attend traditional dance lessons. That’s pretty much me!

What was your first Coursera course, how did you find out about it and why did you decide to take it?

My first Coursera Course (and I remember it as if it were yesterday), was offered by Mt. San Jancito College and was called “Crafting an Effective Writer: Tools of the Trade (Fundamental English Writing)”. It was a big challenge for me to start an online course as I was not familiar with the whole procedure and assessment style, but I really wanted to try it out because a friend of mine had told me it was worth doing. I remember taking this course in June 2014.

I was really afraid in the beginning that I wouldn’t make it, but it ended quite smoothly for me.

The whole experience was really nice and something that I still remember is a “Thank you” message I posted on the discussion forum to thank everyone for this wonderful experience. It had a lot of comments from my fellow classmates as well as from the teachers which pleased me a lot.

What’s your favorite Coursera course and why?

My favorite and most memorable Coursera Course was the second one I took. It was offered by Wesleyan University and was called “Social Psychology”. First of all, this course was really helpful as it presented some of the basic principles that govern our modern societies. That helped me a lot to not fall victim to the psychological tricks that people use to exploit us as well as to strengthen my relationship with others around me using positive emotions and establishing a friendly environment. Secondly, I also liked the discussion forums on this course once there was a lot of ongoing discussion about different topics even a year after the course was finished (the course has not been offered again from that session, I hope it does soon)!

Being able to exchange ideas and discuss them was a great privilege that this course offered me and one for which I am grateful.

Last but not least, I think we made the headlines at BBC for the most attended MOOC worldwide!

Which course do you Mentor? What do you like most about the course?

I Mentor the course “Ancient Philosophy: Aristotle and his Successors” offered by the University of Pennsylvania. This course is of great interest to me because I also love philosophy. Actually, I study at the Department of German Language and Literature which belongs to the Philosophical School of Athens, so you can understand that I might also be a “philosopsycho” as I like to call it. I enjoy every science that has to do with people, especially philosophy because I think that it can be a powerful as well as a useful tool in our lives that we can use for literally every aspect of life. For me, philosophy is crucial for decision making and it can lead to wonderful destinations you haven’t even thought of. Go philosophy!

How did you decide to become a Mentor?

This is a really funny story. To start, I didn’t even know that Coursera had launched this feature and was recruiting Mentors that would help monitor a course. After having finished the course I now Mentor, I got an email from Coursera that was explaining this feature and that I was invited to join the Mentor Training Course in order to become a Mentor upon completion. I was really stunned in the beginning and I read the email a second time! I couldn’t believe it. I thought: me? A Mentor? No way. It sounded difficult, so I didn’t think I had what it takes to become a Mentor. Some days later, I felt that I could give it a shot so I did, and here we are.

If Coursera thinks I can become a Mentor, why shouldn’t I, I wondered.

This is how I decided to take the course and become a Mentor.