The trend of MOOCs has become exceedingly popular as they attract all kinds of interest from people involved with education. There are several MOOCs for any subject you can think of, made available online. Major MOOC startups have associated themselves
with the best educational institutions around the world to provide you with credible, high-quality content. The ever-increasing number of MOOCs available on the Web makes it all the more complicated and difficult for learners to choose from such a diverse expanse and select the MOOCs that serve their purpose best. Selecting MOOCs for yourself is not an easy task due to the rising availability of MOOCs. If you want the best learning results from MOOCs, then you need to make wise choices about which MOOCs you would like to undertake so that they have the maximum positive effect on your learning. A ‘how-to guide’ to select the best MOOCs, is what you need to make effective MOOC choices.
Here’s the how-to guide that will help you find the best MOOCs for yourself:
Make sure that your MOOC is authentic: There are number of fake MOOCs providers whom you need to be aware of. They provide online courses that look like MOOCs, but can never offer the same benefits. To make sure the MOOCs are authentic, see to it that they are Open, i.e. they have the Creative Commons License that allows anyone to copy content, modify it and make it available elsewhere. This indicates that MOOCs are also free, fee maybe charged for a course completion certificate, but the content availability is nevertheless always free.
Make sure they offer only college-level courses taught by PHDs or professors from top renowned universities: The best MOOC sites only allow top-tier universities to offer courses on their platform. Universities like Harvard, UC Berkeley, MIT are among the best universities that offer MOOCs on credible MOOC sites, thereby promising quality. The best examples of such MOOC sites are Coursera and edX.
Select MOOCs that require you to pass the course with graded assignments and exams: The MOOC platforms should offer course enrolments and grading assignments, which make them more engaging and compel the students to complete the entire course that is offered. After the students successfully pass the course completion exams, they should be offered with completion certificates recognized by the universities that the MOOC site is affiliated to.
Look for MOOCs that let you build portfolios or projects to capture your learning: This will increase your chances of getting a better job. You should go through the MOOC syllabus thoroughly and make sure that it includes assignments that will reflect on your particular skills and get them in notice of the employers.
Select MOOCs that offer flexible schedules: Go for the MOOC courses that allow you to join them anytime without requiring you to follow a university schedule. They should be such that you can learn at your own pace with them and be part of them whenever you want.
Select MOOCs that allow maximum accessibility to professors: with Most MOOCs it is not possible to get one-on-one time with professors; they remain out of the reach of the students. But still, there are several MOOCs with professors who make a lot of efforts to engage themselves with the students. Go through the past class forums to find the professor who can give you personal time and also try reaching them through social platforms.
Don’t judge a MOOC with its videos: Some MOOCs offer highly produced videos with graphics and animations, while others just offer the simplest presentations centered around a professor. But you should never disregard a course if its videos don’t seem up to par. To evaluate such courses, test out their classes for a couple of weeks to understand the professor’s capabilities and if he’s able to provoke your thoughts and ideas with distinct questions and problem sets and not only restricts to providing some already set quizzes and assignments.
Select MOOCs that offer opportunities for peer assessment: A lot of MOOCs like Coursera offer peer review process which enables students in a class of thousands to get feedback on papers and assignments that don’t lend themselves to automatic computer grading. Students get trained to use a grading rubric and then they’re asked to evaluate a set number of their peers’ work. There can be variability in feedback it gives you the chance to interact with people from all kinds of backgrounds.
The main providers of MOOCs which are presently regarded as best in this business are Coursera , edX and Udacity . Out of these, Udacity stands out mainly because all of its courses are openly available. There are no start and finish dates, the courses can be taken at any time and you can work at your own pace, completing each unit or module at you own comfort with no time constraints at all. You can also go back over any of the course material and retake quizzes as many times you want. The final exam can be taken at any time and upon passing you can then print out your certificate which is awarded at different grades depending upon your final exam result. Coursera, by far has the most courses available and also the broadest range of them. To take a certified Coursera course and gain a certificate, you will need to complete it within the stated time frames. The courses offered by edX and Coursera are much more structured than those of Udacity. They have set weekly deadlines which you need to meet with commitment. Both these platforms offer some of their courses on a self-study basis as well.
MOOCs provide great opportunities for online learning by making high quality education free for all and open to the masses. With the promise of more universities getting involved and many more MOOCs yet to come, course seekers really need make wise decisions on MOOCs, for which I hope this guide can be of help. The future of online education and distance learning looks exciting owing to MOOCs. Share more tips to select the best MOOCs and express how these tips helped you for the purpose. The Comment Box awaits you.