Can I study online for free?
MOOCs are online classes that anyone can take on the internet. Before the internet, students could take classes remotely, meaning they did not attend the class in person. This was called “distance education”. The first ever distance education class was advertised in 1728 in The Boston Gazette. The ad read: a new method of learning – lessons mailed weekly. The professor was Caleb Phillips and he taught “Short Hand” which, indeed, was a method of abbreviated writing. Since then, people have not stopped finding innovative and convenient ways to learn. Although this started with limited participation mailed lessons, we now have ended up with Massive Open Online Courses. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are the latest trend in distance education and learning.
What are “MOOCs”?
MOOCs are online classes available to people everywhere through open access on the internet. In addition, participation is unlimited so any number of people can take the same class. They can be on almost any topic. MOOCs often provide interactive education modules. Some MOOCs are worth academic credits, but most are not. Some may offer a certificate upon completion, like for instance, computer literacy.
What MOOCs can I take?
MOOC options are almost unlimited. Nowadays, there are so many online classes that it might be difficult to decide what to take. Options vary from the basics of digital photography, or arts and crafts like carpentry, however, you will find more complex topics like psychology, medicine or even physics and chemistry.
Where do I find MOOCs of interest?
There are many websites that offer them. Here is a list of the most popular and credible ones:
1. Coursera: https://www.coursera.org/
MOOCs in Coursera are free when you take the option of non-graded material. If you want to have grades and want a certificate, then you need to pay. They also offer financial help for those learners who qualify. The guidelines are on their website.
2. Alison: https://alison.com/
The main drawback of MOOCs on this website is that they’re not recognized by institutions or organizations. It is up to your employer, to accept these as a certification of your knowledge in a certain area. The classes are free, but you need to pay if you want certification.
3. Microsoft Virtual Academy: https://mva.microsoft.com/
Free online courses for Developers, IT Professionals, and Data Scientists.
4. edX: https://www.edx.org/
Non-profit organization that offers courses at the university level. Some of their MOOCs are free, while many are paid.
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