It’s time to ship the kids back to school. And I’ve had a solid year of no homework since finishing grad school. So naturally I became jealous of the kids’ school supplies and was feeling a little bored. The most logical solution – try an MOOC (massive open online course).
Never heard of MOOC? Simple explanation – universities of varying notorarity have opened up their online courses for you to take for free (as an audit) or a for a fee (for either a grade or certificate).
Why try one of these courses? First – you can do them for free. Second – it’s a huge world of learning that is right at your fingertips. The course catalogues cover a huge range of topics.
Where do you find MOOC info? MOOC-list.com was my starting point. Put in a few key words to search and voila – list upon list of possible courses. They aren’t the actual providers though. I ended up on edx.com and coursera.org and had to register at each of those sites. What is nice is that each course you register within the site can be taken through courserra or edx. Which is especially nice when you sign up for 5 courses – I’ll add decision making 101 to the next round.
Only one of the courses I’m taking is self lead – and that’s the Spanish course through edx. The other 4 are scheduled and two started the Monday after I signed up. The other two started the following Monday – and I had forgotten about them until a nice email came through to tell me class was starting. I might have added two more since then.
The classes vary in length with two of them as short as 4 weeks. The Spanish is meant to be 16 weeks but it’s self lead.
What’s my impression so far – well since I added two more, I guess you could say I like it. I’m auditing so I’m skipping (locked out of) some of the major assignments. Reading the boards though I’m seeing an interesting note – some of the classes are relying heavily on peer reviewed grading. And some people are very unhappy about that. I’m also noticing that we have assigned mentors – who are not necessarily the instructors. So if you’re buying the course – take a moment to find out what you’re actually buying.
All that said, other than me recklessly signing up for too many, I’m enjoying the courses. They are largely video based, so I can retreat back and rewind to listen again. The videos are shorter clips (most are 5-7 minutes) so I can watch just a little and come back later when I have more time.
Don’t want to be tied to a laptop or wi-fi? Both edx and coursera have apps – and you can download the content for offline viewing. Helpful for waiting during soccer/baseball/insert after school practice.
Time to finish my first course. And try not to sign up for anymore 🙂