MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses. Although there has been access to free online courses on the Internet for years, the quality and quantity of courses has changed. Access to free courses has allowed students to obtain a level of education that many only could dream of in the past. This has changed the face of education. In The New York Times article Instruction for Masses Knocked Down Campus Walls, author Tamar Lewin stated, “in the past few months hundreds of thousands of motivated students around the world who lack access to elite universities have been embracing them as a path toward sophisticated skills and high-paying jobs, without paying tuition or collecting a college degree.”
Although MOOCs are the latest trend, not everyone agrees that schools should offer them. Joshua Kim Insight Higher Ed article Why Every University Does Not Need a MOOC noted that offering free material may not make sense for the individual university. It may be more important to stand out in other ways.
There may also be some issues for students who lack motivation. Since a MOOC is voluntary and there is no penalty for dropping the program or lagging behind, there may be issues with course completion. Although a student may have received an excellent education, there will not be a corresponding diploma.
For those who desire a free education and have the motivation, the following includes the: Top 10 Sites for Information about MOOCs:
- Udemy Free Courses – Udemy is an example of a site allows anyone to build or take online courses. Udemy’s site exclaims, “Our goal is to disrupt and democratize education by enabling anyone to learn from the world’s experts.” The New York Times reported that Udemy, “recently announced a new Faculty Project, in which award-winning professors from universities like Dartmouth, the University of Virginia and Northwestern offer free online courses. Its co-founder, Gagen Biyani, said the site has more than 100,000 students enrolled in its courses, including several, outside the Faculty Project, that charge fees.”
- ITunesU Free Courses – Apple’s free app “gives students access to all the materials for courses in a single place. Right in the app, they can play video or audio lectures. Read books and view presentations.”
- Stanford Free Courses – From Quantum Mechanics to The Future of the Internet, Stanford offers a variety of free courses. Stanford’s – Introduction to Artificial Intelligence was highly successful. According to Pontydysgu.org, “160000 students from 190 countries signed up to Stanford’s Introduction to AI” course, with 23000 reportedly completing.” Check out Stanford’s Engineering Everywhere link.
- UC Berkeley Free Courses – From General Biology to Human Emotion, Berkley offers a variety of courses. Check out: Berkeley Webcasts and Berkeley RSS Feeds.
- MIT Free Courses – Check out MIT’s RSS MOOC feed. Also see: MIT’s Open Courseware.
- Duke Free Courses – Duke offers a variety of courses on ITunesU.
- Harvard Free Courses – From Computer Science to Shakespeare, students may now get a free Harvard education. “Take a class for professional development, enrichment, and degree credit. Courses run in the fall, spring, or intensive January session. No application is required.”
- UCLA Free Courses – Check out free courses such as their writing program that offers over 220 online writing courses each year.
- Yale Free Courses – At Open Yale, the school offers “free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University. The aim of the project is to expand access to educational materials for all who wish to learn.”
- Carnegie Mellon Free Courses – Carnegie Mellon boosts “No instructors, no credits, no charge.”
For younger students, check out the 60 Minutes video about Khan Academy and KhanAcademy.org. Also check out Ted Ed.