Would you like to take Cryptography, Introduction to Sustainability, Modern and Contemporary American Poetry, or Algorithms Part I? These are just a few of the currently available MOOC’s.
MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course; meaning, free and open enrollment to anyone, anywhere. The traditional MOOC typically touts student enrollment from hundreds to thousands of students for one class. Yes–thousands.
Courses are developed and delivered by faculty at prominent institutions like Duke, MIT, Harvard, Princeton, etc. These institutions are partnering together with organizations like Coursera, edx and Udacity to create a unified course delivery system for the MOOCs.
While MOOC courses don’t offer the same level of credit that traditional university courses offer, some provide certificates upon successful completion of the course. There are rumors of MOOC certificates earning street cred, particularly for hiring purposes in large technology corporations around the globe. If you have certificates in Computer Architecture and Computing for Data Analysis then you will be a more desirable hire than the guy with none.
I am currently enrolled in my second MOOC, Gamification, taught by Kevin Warbach from the University of Pennsylvania. The course is designed with a series of video lectures, quizzes, and discussion forums. I enjoy the open format. People from all other the world are enrolled and right away you get a sense of community with the other participants. It’s easy to enroll in a course and if you don’t have time to finish it, you didn’t waste your money! New courses are starting all the time, there are no traditional semesters.
Check out available MOOCs at:
- Coursera – a company who has partnered with 16 of the world’s top universities to offer a wide range of free courses across disciplines. (Stanford, Princeton, Michigan…)
- edX – originally developed by MIT. They have recently partnered with Harvard and Berkeley. Most of their courses are technical.
- Udacity – courses from a range of universities. Most of their courses focus on the technical.
More on MOOC’s
Good MOOC’s, Bad MOOC’s @ Chronicle of Higher Edcuation
What It’s Like to Teach a MOOC (and What The Heck’s a MOOC?) @ The Atlantic