You are here

Massive Open Online Courses: Why, How and Who?

Massive Open Online Courses: Why, How and Who? main image

An overwhelming majority of young people today have access to the internet and use it to socialize, entertain themselves and find information. We’re all aware of the pros and cons of spending time online; you get that useful piece of information you were searching for, but then waste an extra hour clicking on irresistible links… But in the midst of the ongoing debate about the online world and our relationship to it, one worthwhile way to use it has emerged: as part of the education process.

MOOCs (massive open online courses) are a way to access additional education in an area of your interest for free.This sounds like trick, but it is for real!Many world-leading universities have united into consortiums and organized huge platforms for the provision of free online education. Harvard, Yale, Oxford and many other famous institutions are in the list.

The biggest MOOC platforms include CourseraedX and Udacity, and many more are emerging.These platforms offer a large selection of massive open online courses, which provide the opportunity, as the edX creators put it, to “study, have fun, uncover a new passion or learn skills that just may change your life”. Not only do they have a catchy slogan, but MOOCs really are cause for optimism, allowing anyone with an internet connection to access the opportunities a free online education provides.

Why take a MOOC?

Online courses have been around for a while. The main difference with MOOCs is that they’re offered free of charge. And since you can take them anywhere with an internet connection, there is no need to spend money on travel expenses, insurance, visas or accommodation. No need to leave home, country and family.

MOOCs have also been characterized by the fact that many of the universities offering them have extremely strong global reputations, as do the academics involved in their development. These online courses offer the opportunity to experience learning from the world’s best professors and lecturers, both those purely from the academic world and those with relevant industry experience.

The creators of MOOCs (universities) often offer certificates for those who successfully finish the course and pass the test, exam or another kind of control. Usually the certificate is not given for free; the price may range from $15 to $40. Successful course takers might also get a special offer if they want to go on to enroll at the university for another course, either online or on-campus – sometimes MOOCs can be converted to count towards part of a degree qualification, while outstanding MOOC students may even be offered a part-scholarship.

How to choose (and complete) a MOOC

The types of free online education courses available are very diverse nowadays. Online education can range from a single class to earning a full degree. For certificate programs and degree programs, it’s best to search the universities’ websites.

So many online courses are available, you’ll probably have a tough time choosing. But if you don’t find one that matches your interest, you can subscribe to each MOOC platform and follow them via social media. Then you’ll know as soon as a new package of courses is about to get started. 

To date, MOOC completion rates have been stunningly low. The well-known slogan “Just do it” fits well here, because the main challenge for most MOOC takers is self-discipline. Of course choosing the right course helps, but you also need to be prepared to dedicate regular time (usually 8-12 hours per week). And remember, you’re getting all these valuable reading materials and videos for free, plus analytical analysis, advice and even software, so make the most of it!

Who can benefit from taking online courses?

Students with a limited budget

It’s a common situation that only a few talented applicants can afford to pay for a degree in a top-ranked university. Some students win competitions, get scholarships or apply for financial aid. But still a vast number of youth remain out of the flow. Online courses can help expand access.

Young professionals and prospective graduate students

Online courses in this case may help to diversify skillsets or even open up a new set of skills from the professional angle. Moreover, completing a MOOC can behelpful whenforming or finalizing topics of interest for those seeking master’s or PhD degrees.

Mid-career professionals

The role of the online educative platforms can’t be overestimated for more experienced people too. Taking an online course canimprove professional skills, help to update knowledge of a subject,and help professionals keep up with the latest trends, technologies, tools and shifts in theory.

Any person of any age from any country

Online courses are partly oriented to expand the higher education market and attract more students from the big developing countries. There are still some challenges here; in developing countries internet access and usage can be as low as 30%. But at the same time, young people all over the world have a passion for change and progress, exactly the things MOOCs represent. And MOOCs really can be relevant for anyone, at any stage in life – take one to further your education,progress your career, or simply for fun.

Related categories:

Iulia600's profile image
Written by Aliya Sagandykova

Want to leave a comment?

Please login or register to post
comment above our articles

1 Comment

Choose where to take an online course

One of the main alternatives at the forefront of your thoughts for selecting where to take your online class will be the college you are right now enlisted in. This choice is regularly the most straightforward as you don't need to experience the procedure of investigating another school and attempting to connect with schoolmates over yonder. On the off chance that you take an online course connected with your college, there is practically zero shot of the credit you acquire in the class not having any significant bearing and satisfying one of the prerequisites for getting your degree.

When taking a course somewhere else, it is basic to check if the course will really satisfy the necessity you have to satisfy. The course and its substance may appear the same to the one you would take at your own particular college, however when it comes time to exchange the credits, you will most likely be unable to. Something else that regularly happens when attempting to exchange credits from an alternate program or school is discovering you can't make a difference the credits to your expected necessity; in any case, the credits could satisfy an alternate prerequisite or consider elective credit.