Online Learning: Looking at MOOCs

Whether you are looking to enhance your future job prospects, find a new career, continue your education, improve your skills or find a new interest, MOOCs may be the answer to your needs.

MOOCs are part of online learning and although still not widely recognized, they are increasing in offering and accreditation.

According to the University of Edinburgh:
MOOCs are freely accessible and open-licensed short courses, delivered to large cohorts of learners fully online”.

No matter where you are in the world, with an internet connection, you can access and benefit from these courses delivered by hundreds of universities worldwide.
The number of MOOC providers is also growing, some of the major players are Coursera, edX, Udacity and FutureLearn.

The following search engine link will give you a list of other MOOC providers.

Many MOOCs offer the option of obtaining accreditation on successful completion of the course. The certificates can be obtained generally for a small cost. However, these accreditations are not always widely recognised in the workplace. Most MOOCs don’t have university credits allocated to them. Although, MOOC providers are now moving into proposing Undergraduate and Graduate courses.

If you are thinking of enrolling in a Undergraduate or Graduate course, then beginning with a MOOC introductory or short course in the domain that interests you, is helpful. It can help you determine if this is the right course choice, before embarking on unnecessary expenditure and possible drop out. 

MOOCs are a good stepping stone back into education. If you are looking to further your career, or keep your skills up to date, or continue your education, MOOCs provide the flexibility of studying from home, at one’s own pace (although some course providers can have a deadline for completing modules), for a low cost, as well as online interaction with experts and other students.  

However,  they require self-discipline and self-regulation to complete, as one of the main draw backs of MOOCs is the absence of face-to-face contact and interaction with tutors and other students.

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Author. Brid Doherty-Appriou
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