In the last article, I've written that I had my first experiences with Massive Open Online Courses back in 2012. Well MOOC, have been present since 2004, but went viral, or popular in 2012, when edX and Coursera presented their online e-Learning platform for wider audience.
I was on first year of my faculty, and I was thinking a lot about formal education, is it enough for me to feed my hunger for knowledge. I will make a slight digression here, because when I was little boy I didn’t read to much novels and fairy tales, I did but my love was encyclopedia, because encyclopedia could feed my portion of knowledge.
Well formal education didn’t manage to fulfill my hunger for knowledge. And I started to search internet for free sources of knowledge for students. And after a while I managed to find site Coursera. Coursera currently is the biggest course provider online, (Coursera is having 5+ million of students, over 600 courses) imagine one big online classroom and students inside the classroom are from 190 countries all around the world.
My own thoughts on MOOC
Well three years after, I have finished more than 50 courses on variety of different MOOC platforms. I will try to convert my experiences and knowledge to healthy advices for all of you, that are starting to interact with e-Learning.
The best thing in e-Learning is that e-Learning is online, you really can access it whenever you want, and any time you want. When you find something interesting, or something that you really want to learn, you start to google it, yes? Well great thing about online courses is that you can see syllabus of course as a preview, and week by week schedules and even paced work for that course. So in first or second week of the course, you can see if you’re into that or not, so you can focus your energy on something different.
Well let’s start now, visit Coursera, register and make your own profile, it’s cool. That can be your first step into e-Learning adventure, but spoiler alert! It’s really addictive, once you start and see all beauty from it, you will have problem to stop doing it.
Well when you first register, you can search for any field of interest you want to discover or learn. You have two kinds of courses at Coursera, you have self paced course, on which you can learn on your own and you’re not time bound. You can start, pause and continue whenever you want it. And you have timed courses, you have certain time frame, let’s say 1-3 months so you need to be able to finish certain assignments or readings on week to week time.
For most of the courses you will receive statement of accomplishment when you pass at least 50% of course assignments. If you want to stand out more, you can pay for verified statement of accomplishment that is signed by university and professor that you’re attending course.
You can make even make specialization on Coursera, to be top in your class or field of science. Also sneak peek information, Coursera will bring iMBA program soon. Imagine that, you can attend MBA studies from your home!
Let’s get back to advices for your e-Learning adventure. When you enroll for course, you will discover online community, and Coursera is having the biggest online community than any other MOOC provider other there. Online community is one of the biggest, if not the biggest advantages of e-Learning system. You can create session study groups, you can manage your network, make new friends and expand it beyond your imagination.
You can also interact with them on social media sites, like Facebook, Linkedin and more.
You don’t need to end your journey after you finish your course. You can follow latest news from your field of study on Linkedin, Google and other relevant sources. Also interact with your colleges around the world and set up virtual meetings via Skype, webinars and more.
At this part you will wonder, is it worth to study? will anybody appreciate your certificates? Well to be honest, NO! If you’re studying just to get certificate, they’re really useless, in my humble opinion. When you study to get informed, to get knowledge they’re priceless. I’m now struggling to get a regular job, because many of small companies aren’t familiar with MOOC. And it’s hard to explain to them you’re passion for knowledge. But stay positive, because my personal experience taught me that if you’re persistent, you will succeed. I won the most exciting internship ever competition for company HeySuccess. They chose Me, from 70 people, from 4 continents, because they saw my dedication for informal education and e-Learning. They invited me to the interview to share my experiences with them.
Most of the big companies, are familiar with e-Learning system and MOOC. They’re using them to educate their own employees. So future is bright for us, your hard work and hunger for informal education is proof of your uniqueness and it serves as a prove that you’re determine and keen do learn new things. That attribute is very important for any employer other there.
In the next article we’re going to talk about MOOC providers, and their pros and cons. We will make short overview of best MOOC platforms out there and We will choose the best MOOC platform for you.
Till the next time, may the force of knowledge be with you!
All your donations will be used to pay the magazine’s journalists and to support the ongoing costs of maintaining the site.