MOOCs & You – Why You Should Consider Them
Happy Saturday, readers! So before I begin, I would like to let you all know that things have finally settled in to good things. I got the word that my rehire has been approved and while I’ll have to go through the process once more, at least I’m being given the opportunity to actually make way with this new position.
But this post isn’t about new job beginnings or working from home (more on that upcoming), this is about what I do when I’m not working and not writing. You may have heard about the rise of MOOCs – massive open online courses – and where they might take college and other higher learning institutions. If you follow me on G+, you may know that I just received my certificate with distinction from my Internet History course, so of course I’m all about the online schooling.
Currently, I’m enrolled in a course about online gaming, where I actually have to play Lord of the Rings Online in order to get a certificate with distinction. As my friend’s dad asked, what does this course – or any online course – help with a career? Or even life?
First and foremost, what exactly is a MOOC? It’s simple – it’s an open and online course that is offered by a college or university. Coursera, which is where I’m enrolled, has partnered with several hundred universities to offer free, online courses. An update to the program has now included the signature track, where you can pay for the actual course and receive an official certificate, one that’s signed by the president of the school or department. As mentioned, many universities are partnering up or offering their own online courses, which helps to get more students invested in actually going to college.
Back up to how these are going to help, you need look no further than the latest statistics on where the US is heading in terms of college, as in many aren’t heading there. Tuition costs continue to rise, stopping many from going because they either can’t pay to get in or they’re struggle to try to pay it off when or if they graduate. And don’t think that a ton of people are graduating college, because they aren’t.
It’s been a hot topic, especially after one MOOC professor turned Benedict Arnold by bowing to pressure from the school of give us more of your money. You see, professors are up in arms because allowing MOOCs means students may actually learn something, instead of purchasing the same book they wrote in various editions; it means that students are getting an education, something that professors should be pushing for, not against.
Why did I choose a MOOC? First, it’s free. I’m already paying off student loans for two colleges and I don’t have money to pay off a third, despite my wanting to get a degree. Second, with a MOOC, I’m essentially creating my own degree, with classes that I enjoy and actually correspond to what I’m studying. Back in the day at U of A, as a music major, I had to take classes that had nothing to do with music; I didn’t take out student loans to pay for school to learn about fly reproduction. Even my music classes weren’t what I wanted; I didn’t want to be a teacher, but it seemed like all my classes (and apparently, liberal arts schools in general) are focused on students teaching.
I already have an interest in technology, of all kinds, so I’ve picked and chosen tech classes, like Computer Science and the Internet History. I’ve offered started to take a look at business aspects, so I’ve signed up with a few business courses. I’m essentially making a business technology degree, without being in debt to do it. And, they can be added to my resume, which – like my HTML/CSS certificate and former A+ certification – looks good.
I think this new trend is great, not only in offering education and learning to those that can’t afford to go to college, but it brings back the concept of actually having the experience and knowledge when it comes to entering the work place, something businesses have complained about in dealing with actual college grads.
IMHO, I hope MOOCs all but destroy the traditional college, outside of those specialty professions (doctors, lawyers, etc). It’s becoming useless, creating debt for those who didn’t have it, and isn’t even providing what it should – education and higher learning.
- Google and edX Create a MOOC Site for the Rest of Us (chronicle.com)
- Wharton Offers Free Online Courses Copying First-Year MBA Study (bloomberg.com)
- Free Massive Online Education Provider, Coursera, Begins To Find A Path To Profits (techcrunch.com)
- Do Free Online Classes Undercut the Value of an Education? (brighthub.com)
- ‘Star’ Coursera prof stops teaching online course in objection to MOOCs (gigaom.com)