My experience with MOOCs


MOOC. It stands for Massive Open Online Course. As a prolific googler of information, it didn’t take long before these internet education sites started popping up offering me courses in all manner of things, ranging from the traditional subjects like history and philosophy to the more modern like mobile app development and web design, to the funky courses on topics like “becoming a superlearner” (yes I took it).

Nowdays there must be hundreds of popular sites offering “free” (hence “open”) online courses. Some look better than others but they all pretty much work on a similar business model. You take the course for free, but if you want a certificate of completion, you pay for it. Fair enough.

So I decided it’s time for me to try this thing out with a more serious course. I signed up at ALISON (advanced learning somthing-something) one of the most popular providers of online learning with 4 million or so students. What I liked about these guys was that they offered diploma courses where other providers mostly offer certificates. Cool. I enrol for a Diploma in Human Resources and what do you know, a day later I’m done, readings, quizzes and all. ALISON congratulates me and directs me to their page to pay for proof that I completed the course. 67 Euro for a printed diploma certificate and 86 Euro for the framed version (not including shipping).

Ok, either that “Superlearner” course worked wonders or I am being ripped off. Am I supposed to be proud of a “diploma” that can be completed in a day? I can see the temptation though, with ALSON clearly marketing to third world countries, not many employers are going to know how bogus the diploma is. It’s easy, will look darn good on a resume and hey, at least it doesn’t cost as much as a real diploma would.

Did I learn anything? Yes, I got some good tips on HR, but not more than I could have found on wikihow.

I haven’t given up on MOOC’s though. Short, specific courses do seem worthwhile, you can even take courses from Harvard, Stanford, MIT and all the big name schools which I am sure will have better standards. But where it comes to ALISON and Diplomas, don’t believe the mooks. If you want to learn something new, you would probably learn more by reading half a book on the same topic.

Signing off for now.

Categories: Education, Reviews

Tags: , ,

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