MOOCs (Massive Open On-line Courses)

Anyone come across or done MOOCs?

Its a new online education set up where top universities offer short courses free. There is a wide selection of courses available. I'm currently enrolled on a couple of businesses courses, which are as good as anything I did on my MBA. Very highly recommended. They don't offer a formal qualification, but, on the other hand, they are free and there is no time pressure.

In the business section, there are some great courses for people looking to widen their understanding of how business works. I know of one company about to start its annual strategy round which has put all of its business area managers through a MOOCs module on strategy planning.

MOOCs may be the start of a revolution in education. Where is the downside?

MOOC List | A complete list of Massive Open Online Courses (free online courses) offered by the best universities and entities.
Hadn't come across it at all but it looks very interesting. if a bit US-centric at the moment. Newsnight did a programme about it - did anyone see it? BBC News - Massive open online courses - threat or opportunity? (it's long gone from BBC i-player sadly)

I guess the downside for some people is the "no academic credit" bit?


I've signed up to do "From the Big Bang to Dark Energy". 4 weeks with Tokyo University. Very interesting so far!
I'm enjoying New Models of Business in Society with the university of Virginia. So far, so good; the lecturer is engaging, the topic thought provoking and the discussion is pretty lively. On the down side, the lack of student assignments and exercises means there is no IP in the EDIP, but it is what is is.

Overall, i am very impressed. Not much in life is free, but this is....


However I'm seriously struggling with some of the "homework". Despite the assurance that only "high school" maths would be needed we are currently trying to calculate what distribution of dark matter would lead to the observed effect that the galactic rotation curves are flat instead of being proportional to one over the square root of their distance from the galaxy centre. Apparently it involves calculus and no I'm not sure I actually understood the question (or any of the hints on the very useful course forums!) Back to calculus 101 for me first by the look of it...


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Just signed up for a 9 week Systems Engineering MOOC from the University of New South Wales.

I'm considering slapping in for an OU degree later this year and I figure this will be a good taste of things to come, as well as an assessment of my own commitment and ability to get off my arse and do this.
I've just finished two; The Power of Macro Economics and its twin on Micro-Economics. I didn't do any of the "homework" or bother with the certificate; I was simply delving in to improve my knowledge.

Just started one on public speaking which, at Week 2, has been pretty good.
ALISON is a great resource for free course

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I am starting the basic musical course. I play instruments but have never done music notation. I have never learnt to read music and just work on what fingers to move and how it sounds. I am hoping for some enlightenment on written music.


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
That looks bloody interesting. I might have a go at that myself.
They're good. I did one in Nuclear Science and Technology a year or two back. I enjoyed the lesson format and learned a lot. The lecturer is one of the most respected blokes in the Nuclear Science world.

You watch a youtube lecture, then do a mini exam to see what you've taken in, then each week there is a bigger exam. There was also the option to take part in an online forum discussion and submit weekly essays which you'd get feedback on from on of the lecturers or university staff. It wasn't compulsory to pass the course, but it improved my understanding of the subject.

Obviously different courses will follow different formats, but this one was particularly good.

Doing this gave me the kick *********** I needed to start looking at day release Uni.

I'm starting a BEng in September. I'd have never had the confidence to do this if I hadn't smashed this course in first.


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Probably a very good way of starting to get back to education
Yep, it just gets you into the right frame of mind and you start picking up information again.

Do it. It's free, if you don't like it, you can just sack off the course. Apparently only 5% of people who enrol on MOOCs actually finish the course.

There's a challenge for ya.
Apparently only 5% of people who enrol on MOOCs actually finish the course.
I'm often one of the 5%........I tend to do MOOCs to learn and gain knowledge that I can apply in my business, not to get the tee shirt. So I dip in and out, picking and choosing the lectures I want to listen to. Sometimes, I enrol on several courses on the same subject and jump from course to course as I work through the subject matter.

I'm in the early stages of developing an on-line consulting business; very niche and very targeted. I've dipped into a number of MOOCs to get "content", which I then focus tightly at our niche market.

That's the great thing about MOOCs; they are free, so you can use them however you wish.

Digressing slightly, I read somewhere that a group of US universities are looking to provide a structure in which you can turn MOOCs into proper qualifications.......

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