I have been taking two classes online through Coursera.org, which gives me access to university content at no cost. I first heard about the concept of MOOCs listening to CBC radio and decided to take a look at Coursera and see what was on offer.
Coursera offers courses from universities around the world, and the two courses I’ve been following are from the University of Toronto and Stanford University. The first class I took was on statistics and for my professional development, and the second, now in week five, is about child nutrition and for personal interest.
These are not intensive classes – There are a few short lectures to watch every week, a multiple choice quiz and the statistics class included a couple of assignments which were then reviewed by other students and graded as 0, 1 or 2. As someone who has been out of university for five years, and who is not trying to earn another degree, this was just right. I was looking for an overview of the topic and something more interactive than reading a book and trying to make sense of things. The courses also offer discussion forums which definitely added something.
I’m enrolled in two more courses, one that starts in the fall and another that hasn’t been scheduled yet, and I’m looking forward to them.
MOOCs are something I would recommend for someone with a bit of time every week to learn something new.
Next up I’m taking a course from creativeLive in an attempt to improve my InDesign skills.