The ‘MOOC’ Revolution

Such is the popularity of MOOC that Oxford has inducted the acronym in its online dictionaries. Interesting, isn’t it?

Wait, what?
Why does everybody look so perplexed?
Oh, now I get it.

MOOC

For those still wondering what MOOC stands for, it is Massive Open Online Course. Oxford online dictionary defines it as “a course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people”. Now, your head might be filled with numerous questions. How is it done? Does the course meet expectations? Is it of any use? Let me tell you that MOOC is provided by some of the world’s best universities – MIT, Harvard, UCB to name a few. So you can be assured of a great learning experience. Basically, a MOOC can be taken by anyone – current students, prospective students or lifelong learners. Most MOOCs are free. You could learn at you own convenience and pace. Students can watch video lectures innumerable times, and they are given assignments and quizzes to test their progress. It’s just like taking a course in real life, except that you are watching lectures in the comfort of your home.

Why MOOC?

Students can utilize MOOCs to gain a deep understanding of their chosen field of study which isn’t taught in depth at their college. Have a horrible college professor who himself doesn’t understand what he’s teaching? Don’t worry. Consider taking a MOOC on that subject. Those who simply want to learn new things would not be disappointed either. Let’s say you are an Engineering student but always wanted to learn guitar. The sound of guitar makes you feel alive. Why not try out the “Introduction to Guitar” offered by Berklee College of Music?

Or suppose you are a Medical student but you always had a flair for Finance. Due to choosing different career option, you couldn’t pursue this interest. Why not have a look at “Introduction to Finance” offered by University of Michigan?

Certificates! Certificates! Certificates!

After completion of the course, you get a course completion certificate. Some of the MOOC providers like Coursera, Edx, Udacity, etc also provide paid ‘Verified Certificates’. You can even add your certificates in your linkedin profile. After all, listing courses from Harvard, Google, MIT would definitely spruce up your résumé. Isn’t it?

MOOC: The future of higher education?

Albert Einstein wrote,

I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn

Being an advocate of MOOC myself, I honestly feel that it is the future of higher education. Whether you are taking a course to supplement your college courses, or learning for the sake of learning, MOOCs offer an incredible opportunity to learn from the best. It offers universal access to free, high-quality, impeccably branded courses and their presence cannot be ignored. With the passing of time, MOOCs will grow in importance.

Some of the best MOOC providers:

  • Coursera – It offers 700+ courses in a variety of areas, including Computer Science, Medicine, Humanities and Physics.
  • edX – It is a non-profit online initiative created by founding partners Harvard and MIT. New to programming? Check out the Harvard’s popular introductory computer science course CS50X.
  • Udacity – It is a for-profit educational organization. You can start the course anytime. There are lots of computer science and programming classes.

So what are you waiting for?  If you haven’t already, enroll in a MOOC today of your interest.

Happy learning! :)

Image credit : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_open_online_course#mediaviewer/File:MOOC_poster_mathplourde.jpg

About author : Shilpa Dubey is a 3rd year B.Tech (Computer Science) student at Supreme Knowledge Foundation Group of Institutions.

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