What is a MOOC?
It stands for Massive Open Online Course. They feature free educational content via the internet. Schools such as Stanford, Harvard and MIT have donated many courses over the last few years to launch these projects. It has exploded into a massive educational opportunity for people exploring interests, furthering education and getting job training via the internet.
The purpose that propelled my search of these resources was hitting a wall in my own formal education. Frustration led to a pure desire to search for some kind of training to put me where I wanted to be and to explore options I hadn’t explored before. I signed up for many, many classes and courses to see what it was all about. I found much of the content to be very good. Some were very in-depth and could be considered graduate courses. What I really wanted was validation for knowledge I have without the formal degree as proof. Many of the courses had certificates of completion that you could print out. This was quite encouraging.
Much of these courses could be used to fluff up your resume, even if it’s not specific to your particular career path. I really wish these type of sites and projects had been available to me after I graduated high school. I would have been able to explore my interests and not spend any money or financial aid doing so. You can explore any number of fields of study for free. If you still end up going with a degree program you’ll have a better understanding than others who didn’t do any independent studying.
I see the MOOC model expanding in the future. It’s exciting to think where the future of education will go and how it will shape the job market.
Note: I plan to write reviews and suggestions on this topic and expand on my findings over the next weeks and months. I also didn’t include Stanford, MIT and Harvard because the courses they provide are presented either through Coursera or edX.
M.O.O.C’s and Free Course Providers
A compiled list of links to many free learning websites. Many offer certificates upon completion.
CourseSites MOOC Catalog
FEMA Independent Study
Microsoft Virtual Academy
Not MOOCs but great resources.
Global Health University
South Central Public Health Partnership (SCPHP)
University of Minnesota: School of Public Health
North Carolina Institute of Public Health