MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses are a great way of learning. MOOCs attract large numbers of learners from across the world and are delivered either as structured courses, or as self-paced programs with access to banks of materials online. The underlying principle is accessibility for all, although many MOOCs now adopt a two-tier structure; where access to course materials is usually available free of charge, but you can pay a fee for access to additional benefits such as tutorial support or even formal accreditation.
Coursera, FutureLearn and edX, offer courses in partnership with prestigious educational institution, such as Harvard University, Stanford and MIT. But there’s far more to MOOCs than free course materials, they are based on the principle of creating a learner-led experience and a recognition that knowing how to access knowledge – and building the networks which support this - is as important as the attainment of knowledge itself.
We have identified six MOOCs that we think will be of interest, all of which are free to undertake but with the option of paid versions offering access to accreditation:
Whether the motivator for engaging with MOOCs is for personal development, network building or to support a specific project, the examples above should provide a useful introduction. Exploring MOOC platforms is also a great way of discovering just how much access to free online learning is available.
A description of the five steps that will help you succeed in a MOOC