Get into the MOOC – how you can get a free education from an elite university
Want to do a course from Harvard University or perhaps MIT? Want to do it for free?
For about a year now, thousands of students around the world have been doing just that – through MOOCs. Although free online courses have been around for several years, there has been a revolution in terms of the quality and quantity of courses, as well as the number of people doing them.
So what is a MOOC?
MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course.
They usually involve professors at a university teaching online courses to the masses.
You can enrol on any course you like. The courses are free to attend, and you usually only need to pay a relatively small fee if you want to get credits or a certificate when you complete it.
How does a MOOC work?
You first need to enrol on a MOOC – you can choose from short courses in hundreds of areas from software development to psychology to statistics.
Once the course starts, you go through a series of lessons. These feature short videos, interactive learning (e.g. quizzes) and discussion forums. You may have assignments as well, which are generally assessed by your peers.
Most MOOCs can be completed in a few weeks. You do need to be motivated though – because it is voluntary and there is no penalty for opting out, people frequently don’t end up completing the course.
Why would I do a MOOC?
MOOCs can help you to improve the list of skills and knowledge on your resume, to get a taster of a particular programme of study you want to pursue, or to support your learning if you are doing a formal course of study.
Where can I find a MOOC?
You can search for free courses on the websites of many top universities worldwide, and it takes just a few minutes to enrol. If you want a local university, Massey University recently became the first New Zealand university to offer MOOCs.
So if you are interested and motivated enough – happy MOOCing!