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How To MOOC: A Guide For The Curious Student

Posted by Katie FitzGerald on Sep 4, 2013 6:37:37 AM

In 2008, The University of Manitoba offered the first ever Massive Open Online Course (or MOOC for short) titled “Connectivism and Connective Knowledge”, this first MOOC drew in 2,300 students from the general public and changed the way both educators and students view higher education. A MOOC is an online course from an accredited college or university that is usually offered through a third party MOOC provider. These third party MOOC providers like Coursera, edX and Udacity place the course online and offer enrollment free of cost. These MOOCs have recorded lectures, automated testing and unlimited space for thousands of students regardless of where they are in the world. These MOOCs are changing the way students learn and are giving more students the opportunity of a higher education.

In our current financially unstable society, where students are finding themselves being buried in mounds student-loan debt, the option of taking a free MOOC instead of paying thousands for a standard 4 year university is becoming a much more appealing option. Many students are beginning to wonder why pay thousands of dollars for a degree from a generic state school when they could be taking classes from elite universities like Harvard, Stanford and Carnegie Mellon for free and from the comforts of their own home. The best and most appealing part about these MOOCs is that you simply get online and sign up; it truly is the easiest way to get an education.

For students who are interested in taking a MOOC there are very few steps to follow. The first and probably the hardest step in beginning a MOOC is simply choosing a class. There are multiple ways to find a MOOC, but the most direct way is to go the third party platform’s website and browse their course list. Some third party platforms, like Udacity, organize their courses by level of difficulty (beginner, intermediate and advanced) in order to give the students an idea of the class’ intensity. The easiest way to see multiple courses from different platforms all in one list is to check the website MOOC List. This website has listings for hundreds of MOOCs from over 20 different third party platforms, gives their final registration date and can be organized by individual platforms like Udacity, Coursera and NovoEd, which makes this website a perfect place for curious students to search and select their MOOC. Once a student finds their course they simply have to register online.

Registering for a MOOC class online is the easiest step in the MOOC selection process. Once a student has selected the course they want to take they simply click the registration button and they are placed in the class. Because these MOOCs are online there is no student-teacher interaction causing many students to not try their hardest in the course or to simply forget about assignments and tests. This lack of student-teacher interaction is probably the reason that MOOCs only have a 10% completion rate. Students who want to succeed in a MOOC must be prepared to dedicate just as much time to the online course as they would a physical class and must be meticulously organized in order to remember to complete all assignments. Nonetheless, MOOCs are a great option for students looking to educate themselves on an array of topics.

These free MOOCs take the exclusivity out of higher education by allowing anyone (with a computer) the opportunity to further their education by taking classes from world-renowned universities regardless of their financial situation. MOOCs are offered in an array of different subjects ranging from computer science to art history and from comic book history to juggling, all these options give every student a MOOC to fit their interests. These groundbreaking MOOCs truly are the future of higher education and are changing the way we learn.



Author: Katie FitzGerald is our Fall Community Manager here at Verge Pipe Media. Verge Pipe Media assists public institutions, enterprises and the non-profit sector with Imaginative Inbound Marketing strategies + campaigns. We also have a development team chock full of Marvelous Mobile Migrators, poised to help transition our clients into a mobile + social world with custom software, iOS and Android mobile apps.


photo credit: CarbonNYC via photopin cc


Topics: higher education

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