MOOC MOOC! What’s that?

Mooc LogoMOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses) are still a word that not many people know and if you say you’re enrolled in one, they won’t know exactly about what you’re talking about. This surprise me as I think is an excellent way of learning that should be seriously taken into consideration.

So lately I’ve been really into the MOOC world, and I’ve seen that the search for that term has been increasing since approximately the beginning of 2013 as we can see in the next picture:

Mooc graphic with search increasing

So what exactly are they?

For whoever doesn’t know yet what is this exactly, a MOOC is a free 100% online course in which there is usually no limits of students. There are a lot of them and in a lot of fields, like design, programming, architecture, marketing and so on. Actually right now I’m taken three marketing courses and one about business in Asia.

Halfway of my courses (They’re one month-long – this varies depending on the course) I can already say that I’m really enjoying them. I almost finished my university degree and only have one subject left to pass, and whilst I’m looking for an internship I have found myself with many time in my hands.

I really enjoy learning (Not usually from classes at university though – but my opinion about universities and their method is another story) and I’m really lucky I’ve found these kind of tools to keep developing my skills.

How it works?

The ones I joined are all from the same organization so they are all the same but I heard there’s other ways MOOC’s are done. For instance in my courses you will see 8-10 videos with the teacher explaining the lesson, with one quick quiz between each video. And at the end of that module (1 module per week, 4 modules in total) there is an assignment that’s usually a 10-question test. At the end of the course, you’ll need at least a 60% to receive a certification showing you took part of that course and passed it.

Is it all sunshine and rainbows?

Not really. The downside? Despite being “massive” I found that there is not much interaction between students. And I’m sure teachers and MOOC organizers will realize that this is an are they should improve somehow. Sure, there are forums in each course where to chat with your peers, but… Maybe I’ve been unlucky, but in the 4 courses I’m taken there’s no sign of real activity.

You can see a comment here and there but there is one big problem – Most of people just focus on tell their story, and nobody listens. That’s extremely surprising for me as I said three of my courses are in marketing (mostly Social Media related) and one huge attitude you need to have is to listen to other people! (Let it be customers, sells team, production manager and so on). And I truly think that’s something some people have more than other people, though of course it can be learn. I truly think “listening” is something that comes from your very soul, and it usually comes when you are interested or curious about something.

Maybe I’m too “romantic”, but I love to listen to other people’s stories. I love to learn from them and I love to see the way they communicate. Maybe it’s just me.

Should I try it?

If you want to keep developing your skills, have some time (But not enough to go to academies, classes, etc) and want to try something new, then you totally need to try it. There’s a web where most of MOOC’s are collected and it will redirect you to the actual web of the course.

I think MOOC’s are quite useful, is a really good way to learn wherever you can as you can watch the videos and do assignments whenever you want (during the course period obviously). But it’s gonna be hard to find a way so the students engage with each other and make the courses even more useful as sharing ideas and discuss with other people (in a good way of course) is one of the best ways to learn something.

Please share your ideas about MOOC’s, your experience on them, if you would be willing to take one and so on in the comments section!

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