I had no idea. No idea at all. Six months ago I couldn’t even spell MOOC and now I am totally addicted. (If you don’t know what a MOOC is, see the video and explanation at the end of this post.)
It all started because the college where I work (Cuyahoga Community College, or Tri-C) received a Bill and Melinda Gates grant to develop a MOOC. We built a four-week MOOC in pre-algebra. My math skills are so deficient, I decided to take the course myself. I took the course seriously and increased my math knowledge. After I finished the math MOOC I took a course on Open Educational Resources from SUNY Buffalo. Hmmm….I began looking around. I stumbled upon a plethora of MOOCs in a variety of interesting subjects. I think I’ve signed up for 10 so far.
I am now taking English Composition offered by Duke University; Gamification offered by the University of Pennsylvania; Rhetorical Composing offered by The Ohio State University; and next week I begin Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence offered by Case Western Reserve University. These courses are all very professionally developed and I am learning as much in these MOOCs as I have in most of my online courses that I paid to attend! Of course, a MOOC does not offer credit; at most participants receive a certificate of completion. But if the objective is professional development or self development, MOOCs are awesome.
There is a caveat, however. MOOCs have homework and scheduled assignments just like any other online class. Most of them also have additional resources that will enhance in-class learning. It takes commitment to reap the knowledge these classes have to offer. If you are a junkie, like me, you may find you need to drop one you really wanted to take. But the courses you finish will expand your knowledge. And it’s free.
MOOC is an acronym for Massive Open Online Course. According to Wikipedia, MOOCs were coined by Dave Cormier. And it just so happens I have a YouTube video from Dave.