[Article Updated] 6/30/2014
MOOCs are becoming a thing that will probably change how people learn and view education at higher institutions. MOOCs are Massive Open Online Courses and you can take any course that interests you for free online (I do need to point out though that some schools are charging still). Anyone with a fast enough internet connection on their laptop, desktop, or mobile phone or tablet can sign up for a course and go back to school.
MOOCs have been around for awhile but now that college tuition is getting to the point that it is unaffordable for the majority people are looking for ways to offset the costs. People know they need degrees for certain jobs but many others are seeing online certificates, that many MOOC courses offer, as an alternative to that degree. Why sit in classes you will never need when you can get a certificate that says you completed all course requirements in the courses that meet the needs of the jobs you are applying for?
Shaking Things UP
MOOCs are changing how people learn but not just that but also where people learn. There are many apps available that let you sign up for courses online using your mobile device, a few of those apps are Coursera app (iTunes, Android), Khan Academy (iTunes), and MOOCs4U (this one only provides a list.
There are many people who sign up for courses on their desktop computer and then download lectures and material on their mobile devices to watch on the train ride to work or on the plane. Now that people can access education and customize the courses they want to learn this will start to change how people understand and interact with how to get an education that fits their needs instead of having to worry about legislative requirements that majority of state schools require of their students to take. Students will no longer have to deal with having to take classes just to meet degree requirements, they can take only the courses that match a field or what a job requires and then pay for the certificate (which averages about $70 bucks) for each course. So if they only need four or five courses to be considered for a job that only comes out to about $350 total for five courses. Not even community colleges can compete with prices like that. Remember, this is to say you want the certificate to show proof you completed the course and passed it, if you don’t need it then you took the course for free. This of course does not include textbooks or additional classroom material but it can’t be more than the average cost for one semester at a regular university.
So whether you know you need to go back to school or trying to find out if you can handle the rigors of college course work, MOOCs are here to help people take control of their education and enable people to learn any course subject that interests them no matter the course level. Just know that in ten years more than twice as many people will have college educations and if you plan to compete with them you will need some kind of education that keeps you ahead of the pack. Check some of the main sites for taking courses online and look through the resource section of this website to find major universities that offer their courses online for free and how you can be apart of them.
List of MOOCs (Go Learn something new today!)
Coursera – Take Courses from some of the best schools in the world
Udacity – Get yourself a nanodegree
edX – Get an Education from the Best
P2PU – Learning Built by an Open Community
FutureLearn – Courses from UK Universities and from around the world
Saylor Academy – Bringing Resources together online and turning it into an education
SkilledUp – You can search the best courses online and where to take them
Here’s how one company called CreativeLive is doing it
MOOC are changing how people get an education now but even more so, it provides a way for universities to find hidden talent in places you wouldn’t normally look. Kids, teenagers, and even senior citizens are going to school online and impressing a number of research universities, many of which are offered spots in the schools or research labs for the work they have done.
This is no laughing matter when it comes to getting an education in the work the future job market will require no less than a masters and Ph.D.