OffBeat

Coursera resurrects the lost art of underwater basketweaving

Underwater basketweaving is an ancient and noble art that few people today have mastered. In honor of April Fools’ Day, Coursera has released a course that will teach anthropology and crafts enthusiasts alike how to create their own “wet-weave baskets” in the true Aquacamamata style.

“Few people are aware of the incredible history of wet weave basketry,” said Phineas Dunne, a professor of maritime anthropology at Ersuraco University. “In this course, we will not only learn of the awesome history of the Aquacamamata people, but also learn to replicate some of their finest pieces of art.”

The Aquacamamata people lived around 325 B.C. and held a complex spiritual belief system that centered around the water. According to the course description on the site, the Aquacamamata believed that all things born from the water were touched by the gods. Underwater basketweaving “seamlessly merges scientific intellectualism, manual dexterity, and deep spiritual engagement.”

People now live an in Internet obsessed world, fueled by three screens and status updates. Too rarely do we take a step outside to let the rivers of Mother Earth wash over us, or use our fingers for purposes other than typing and buying overpriced coffee. Underwater basketry is a wonderful way to refresh the mind, body, and spirit, and remember people from times gone by who crafted physical items with real-world utility.

Today’s entrepreneurs can learn from the Aquacamata’s resourcefulness and optimization strategies. The practice of underwater basketweaving has survived through the ages because it offers distinct advantages over dry basket weaving. The wet fibers “create a basket of unparalleled integrity and aesthetic appeal” and are highly prized for their beauty, durability, and water-tightness.” Something every startup should strive for.

Now for the first time ever, these lessons are accessible to anyone with an internet connection and a tub. In most urban environments, the second requirement is more challenging than the first, but I imagine a kiddie pool will suffice. The course consists of short lecture and demonstration videos, short quizzes, and practical weaving exercises. Those who successfully complete with course will receive a certificate from the Professor, a 1500-watt professional hairdryer, and the inner peace that comes along with learning a new skill, building something useful, and cultivating inner peace.

Portals like Coursera and classes like Underwater Basketweaving continue to make the world a better place, by making valuable educational resources available to people who can not afford traditional classes, and who perhaps had never even heard of the Aquacamata’s until today.

Check out this video about the course:

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