I’m a big fan of MOOCs – Massive Open Online Classes because they’re a great way to educate yourself for FREE!
According to Coursera, MOOCs were created on the premise that everyone should have access to a world-class education which will ultimately empower and improve their lives.
What Is A MOOC?
MOOC is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web.
Traditional online courses charge tuition, carry credit and limit enrollment. The MOOC is usually free and very large in class size. Lectures are usually 8 to 12 minutes videos with the typical video functionality of pause, forward and rewind. Depending on the course there are quizzes and final exams as well.
According to a NY Times article, MOOCs present challenges, including imperfect grading and cheating is widespread. Udacity and edX now offer proctored exams to address the cheating aspect. The article also points out that,
“some students are also ill prepared for the university-level work. And few stick with it”
Another article identifies another challenge stating,
There may also be some issues for students who lack motivation. Since a MOOC is voluntary and there is no penalty for dropping the program or lagging behind, there may be issues with course completion.
It’s easy to get excited and take on a lot of courses that you find interesting.
Check out courses from edX here. A few courses that I’m interested include:
- Entrepreneurship 101 – Who is The Customer? Offered by MIT.
- Becoming a Resilient Person and Introduction To Public Speaking, both offered by University of Washington
You can also browse Coursera courses and find what interests you. My favorites from Coursera include:
- Leading with Emotional Intelligence, offered by Case Western University; and
- Growth To Greatness offered by University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.
Be careful not to take on too much all at once, or else you’ll be overwhelmed. Classes on Coursera & EDX range from 4 weeks up to 10 weeks or more.
Both providers offer courses with verified Certificates for less than $100. Whether or not you have a verified certificate, once you complete a course you have the option to Included certificate on LinkedIn profile.
By no means will MOOCs replace paid “traditional online classes” anytime soon. But it’s a great way to supplement your education and try out a subject risk free. It’s going to be interesting to see how they’ll evolve with technology.