We have seen this coming for a little while now. We have the Internet in all its glory, and now it’s time to start using it for good. With all kinds of people connecting from every corner of the globe, we can now teach courses online that anyone with an Internet connection can enroll in, in places from Tibet to Australia to Alaska, on subjects from Calculus to Mandarin to Chemistry. Obviously, these courses known as Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs) have a lot to offer us.
Massive Open Online Courses
First and foremost, these classes are taught online. But, in addition to the traditional ways of teaching courses online (videos, problem sets, etc.) you can also interact with other students, professors, and teaching assistants through the online learning community, adding a new and dynamic dimension to the online course standard.
In addition to this online community, there are several other benefits that go along with the courses being online. Namely, you can take the course from anywhere. As long as you can connect to the Internet, you can access the course, the materials, and the community. This relieves the kind of stress that a person would face having to commute to a university or community college to take courses, saving time and money for commuter students. In this way, nearly anyone can participate if they want to and are driven to keep up with the curriculum
What is an open course?
The second letter of the acronym stands for “open,” but they mean this term in many different ways. Firstly, the courses are open to anybody who wants to participate. You don’t need a degree, just a desire and a drive to learn the material at a fast pace. The courses are also open in that the courses offered are open to all kinds of different content that would otherwise not be offered. Because of the ability to enroll students from all over the world in a single course that can be translated into countless languages, you can teach a class on something obscure or specialized that wouldn’t otherwise have a large enough enrollment. The courses are also open in that they are more accessible than traditional university courses. Because of the low cost, more people are able to enroll in MOOCs than are able to pay the ever-growing tuitions to the world’s best universities.
No time restrictions
Another benefit that goes along with the courses being online is that you can start or end the course whenever you want. There don’t have to be restrictions on start dates and, since all the materials, videos, and the like are online, you don’t need to follow along with the class at any certain, fixed speed. MOOCs understand that life happens outside of the classroom. If something big happens in your life (marriage, birth of a child, family emergency, etc.) you can take a break from school, come back, and pick up right where you left off. No catch-up, no excess stress. Just learning, all at your pace, all facilitated by your own personal desire to learn and aided by the online community of learners like yourself.
Different style of learning
MOOCs are also helpful to people whose learning style doesn’t fit into the traditional cookie-cutter that is used in modern day public schools. For people who take longer to grasp certain information or who would prefer to focus on different subjects, MOOCs could offer a different medium through which to learn and succeed in the real world. But, as with all other kinds of schooling, MOOCs are what you make of them. It takes drive and desire to learn, but, for many people, MOOCs could offer a different and more accessible way to access and acquire knowledge.
About the Author: Today’s guest post was written by John Monts. John is a professional content writer for Prestige Tracker, where they offer you the tools to find the best online schools. He is currently a student at UC Davis, studying Political Science and Economics.