A MOOC, or “Massive Open Online Course” is an interactive course which is usually without charge, and made available over the internet for anybody to sign up to and complete. There is a wide variety of categories available to study, from foreign languages to business studies, all based around an interactive setting, whereby the participant can read content, watch videos, and complete quizzes to test what they have learnt, during their own free time. Due to this simple interactive setting, the courses can either be completed to further ones knowledge, or to learn about a new subject or topic. To learn more about the basics of MOOCs, please watch this video:
Personally, I have completed a course named “Project Management: The basics for success” as I am currently studying a Project Management module as part of my course and felt it would be most beneficial to further my knowledge. The course involved a series of short videos, as well as lecture notes which are available to print, enabling you to learn in hard format if you prefer. Quizzes are also available to complete to test your knowledge on what you have learnt.
After completing this course, and being in Higher Education myself, I feel that MOOCs are valuable in the HE sector for people willing to be self-motivated. Due to there being no necessary deadlines, self-motivation would be required to complete each course, however if you have a passion to learn the MOOCs are a simple way of gaining extra knowledge. MOOCs could also be encouraged by lecturers; this way the lecturers could set their own deadlines for completion and students could learn extra course content to what they learn during study time.
I feel that the downside to MOOCs are that they are quite basic, especially if you already have a knowledge of the subject. As the teaching is also in a videoed form, it doesn’t allow the participant to ask questions or have any discussion around the subject. Being an online format, it also means that the participant has no hands on experience.
Overall, I feel that MOOCs can be valued along side Higher Education, and can be extremely valuable if they were to offer resources for wider reading. However, as an educational platform on their own, they don’t provide enough information or experience compared to a full time university course.