DEVELOPMENT BLOG

MOOCs!

In the last couple of weeks I enrolled in a MOOC, and then a few more. That’s massive open online course. It’s basically courses on the web, of which there’s no shortage.

I’m still not sure what makes a MOOC a MOOC. How is it different from an online university degree course, or a training site full of video lessons, or a blog how-to or YouTube explainer video? Hard to say, exactly.

There doesn’t seem to be one universal definition of MOOC.

Scale is one identifier. To be massive, a MOOC should be able to accept vast numbers of students, tens or hundreds of thousands, so a MOOC has to be set up for a lot of traffic.

Open seems to mean free or not crazy expensive (around $100 per course is a popular price for the paid ones, from what I’ve seen so far). And open is also accessible. because it’s on the web.

Also, the couple of MOOC sites I’ve checked out are connected to universities.

Anyhow, the point for me is to try online courses, which I hadn’t really done before.

I quickly spiraled a bit. Started with one course, on Climate Smart Agriculture, enjoyed it – the comments section for each lesson can be particularly involving – and within a week had signed up for three more. Now I’m juggling CSA, two courses on nutrition, and one on digital supply chains. All from a site called FutureLearn.

The courses are quite light,  requiring 3-4 hours  each per week for 6-8 weeks, but multiple courses obviously add up. I think I will have to cut back.

It’s early yet for real impressions. Important thing: I’m on the online learning train. Stay tuned!

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