Laptop MOOCS massive open online classes

MOOCs – A Trend You Should Get With

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.

Photo courtesy of Minding The Campus

The Cons

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.

The Pros

Challenges aside, the great news is there are plenty of reputable places to educate yourself online for free. Check out this list of MOOC providers from My favorites are Coursera & edX 

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:

You can also browse Coursera courses and find what interests you. My favorites from Coursera include:

A recent article from Huffington Post shows the popularity of MOOCs, with thousands of people signing up for a Happiness Course offered by edX.

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.


Happy learning!


Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown is Founder & host of Carry On Friends one of the first podcasts dedicated to the Caribbean American Experience. She is leading the way for Caribbean Podcast as the founder of Breadfruit Media, the first Caribbean podcast production company; and founder of the Caribbean Podcast Directory a place to discover podcasts by people of Caribbean Heritage.