Online Courses – Five Important Things About MOOCs

Higher education is changing.  MOOCs are a recent innovation.  MOOCs are new. They represent a different model for learning. Here are important things you need to know about a MOOC.     Buzz TodaySource:  Wikipedia   A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at large-scale interactive participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings, and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive user forums that help build a community for the students.

Important Item #1   MOOC offerings are exploding.  Dozens of universities have jumped on the MOOC band wagon and are offering new courses at a feverish pace.  Many colleges are loading content from courses they developed earlier.  Others are creating new course content especially for MOOCs.  MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Harvard, Yale are among the prestigious universities offering courses in the MOOC format.

Important Item #2   There can be as many as a hundred thousand “classmates” in a given MOOC course.  While this might seem like a vary large class, it  is.  There is a reason they are called massively open online courses.  Your fellow MOOC classmates might include a ten year old kid and/or someone from Russia.  All are welcome.

Important Item #3   The graduation rate for MOOCs is very low.  The average graduation rate for traditional colleges and universities in America is close to 50% with prestigious Ivy League graduation rates over 90%.  The current completion rate for MOOCs today is less than 10% of those enrolled.  There is a reason.  While MOOCs have some support services they are largely self study in format.  The online delivery and format requires intense personal discipline.  Not everyone has the self discipline to complete the work.

Important Item #4  There are emerging online catalogs that list the exploding offerings.  One source is MOOC List.  It is unclear how long the writers of this blog will be able to stay up with the exploding course offerings.  For now it is a full listing of offerings

Important Item #5  MOOCs are not necessarily just about getting credits toward a degree. While there is an emerging way to get college credit, the majority of American colleges and Universities will not accept the new credit assignment process from the American Council on Education (ACE). But college credit is not the only reason you should be considering MOOCs as a step in your Learn Prosper pathway.  Tens of thousands of students are enrolling in one or more MOOCs because they just want to learn more about a specific topic.  One resource that is especially convenient with lots of small courses is Khan Academy.

The opportunity to learn prosper has not been available to many in the past.  Some simply could not afford to go to a campus full time to earn a degree. The MOOC has exploded onto the higher education scene.   Ten years from now the MOOC will be an integral part of higher education.  For now this development is in its infancy.  If you have any interest at all in learning you should try a MOOC to see how it fits who you are.   As I outline in Your Future is Calling, finding out who you are and how the areas relate to the career of your choice is the place to start. From there, a MOOC may be a great learning option for you.  Explore it.