MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are becoming a very popular way of learning. From
California to Berlin to London, there are students who are learning a vast array of
diverse subjects from Quantum Physics to the
Civil War . Learners engage often in any
place at any time, whether on the train, at home, or even in a coffee shop, taking part
in active learning.
Courses take a variety of formats are are usually delivered by video with leaders in the field often giving the lectures. These courses are a great way to learn subject matter from the people that know. Some courses even offer certificates and acreditation - some courses delivered by MITx, for example give "Continuing Education Credits", which can be useful for students wanting to create a portfolio of certificates.
Some courses are even marked and graded - and are interative - so you get immediate feedback on how well you understand the subject matter
The variety of MOOCs on offer from some of the larger platforms such as
EdX and Coursera
are often free, which means that you can partake for nothing - zip - nada. Which is a
great way of learning from the best in the first without ever having to set foot inside
a university or take a student loan.
Increasingly employers are recognising the value of these online courses in providing cost effective training. So expect to pay if you would like a certificate of completion.
Earning credentials can be important and that is why many courses are now offering optional certificates. Often these come as a small cost, and can vary. Additionally many platforms and courses are beginning to offer more mainstream credentials in for the form of more recognisable credits that are typically earned by undergraduates or masters students.m
The reasons that leaners take part in courses are numerous, but there are less academic
pathways to learning and the courses on offer as different as the students themselves.
Aside from the larger more well established platforms such as Coursera and Edx, where content is mainly academic, there are newer platforms such as Udemy who offer a whole host of different courses ranging from IT related skills to personal skills, authored typically by non-academic individuals.
For a list and descritption of MOOC and course platforms, look here