MOOCs: Massive Open Online Courses

I’ve mentioned MOOCs a few times but I don’t think I’ve ever stopped to explain what they are for those who are not familiar with them.

It’s been a recent trend for colleges, universities and others interested in education to offer free or inexpensive classes on anything from The History of Rock and Roll (that was a fun one!) to Computer Programming to Creative Writing.

You name it, and a free course can be found online. I’ve taken free classes offered by MIT, Harvard, The University of Berkeley and more. Many of the courses offer accreditation for a fee if you’d like to take it farther than just learning something new and interesting.

Some can be taken at anytime, while others need to be followed while in progress just like any other university class. They include videos, written lectures, references to online texts and reading materials, projects, peer review (a few), and more to enhance the experience. Also generally included are class discussions and sometimes even organized hookups for study groups and such. To find classes you might enjoy Google “MOOC” and you’ll find many lists of class providers.

My favorite is edx.org where over 40 institutions offer classes in one place:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Harvard University
UC Berkeley
University of Texas System
Australian National University
Georgetown University
Sorbonne
Boston University
Delft University of Technology
University of British Columbia
University of Queensland
ASU
Berklee College of Music
Caltech
Columbia
Cornell University
Dartmouth College
Davidson College
EPFL
ETHx
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
IITBombay
Karolinska Institutet
KULeuvenX
Kyoto University
McGill University
Peking University
Princeton
Rice University
Seoul National University
Technische Universität München
Tsinghua University
Université catholique de Louvain
UC San Diego
University of Chicago
University of Hong Kong
NotreDame
Penn
UTokyo
University of Toronto
University of Washington
Wellesley College

Another top choice is Coursera with offerings from 145 Universities in 28 countries including:

University of Copenhagen
University of Maryland, College Park
ESSEC Business School
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Lund University
Tecnológico de Monterrey
Fundação Lemann
St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University
Università Bocconi
The University of Chicago
University of California, San Francisco
HEC Paris
National University of Singapore
Northwestern University
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Virginia
The World Bank Group
University of Florida
Novosibirsk State University
ESCP Europe
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU)
Duke University
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Brown University
Saint Petersburg State University
Universidad de los Andes
Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
The University of Melbourne
University of Amsterdam
Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica
Berklee
University of Pittsburgh
Michigan State University
University of Nebraska
The University of Edinburgh
Shanghai Jiao Tong University
École Polytechnique
IE Business School
The University of Tokyo
Fudan University
Technische Universität München (TUM)
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
Universidade de São Paulo
Copenhagen Business School
Match Teacher Residency
University of Washington
Georgia Institute of Technology
California Institute of the Arts
Xi’an Jiaotong University
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Commonwealth Education Trust
University of Geneva
University System of Georgia
Universitat de Barcelona
New Teacher Center
Rice University
Caltech
University of Kentucky
Tel Aviv University
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Pennsylvania
Insper
University of Science and Technology of China
Eindhoven University of Technology
Universiteit Leiden
University of California, Irvine
University of Minnesota
University of Toronto
University of London
Institut Mines-Télécom
University of California, San Diego
The George Washington University
University of Michigan
Rutgers the State University of New Jersey
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Utrecht University
Indian School of Business
The Pennsylvania State University
University of Alberta
Universidad de Chile
Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
The University of Sydney
University of Colorado Boulder
Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
University of Houston System
Emory University
Columbia University
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Sciences Po
West Virginia University
Yonsei University
UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales)
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
University of Rochester
Vanderbilt University
University of Zurich
McMaster University
University of New Mexico
University of Lausanne
University of Manchester
Johns Hopkins University
University of Colorado System
Peking University
American Museum of Natural History
University of Arizona
High Tech High Graduate School of Education
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Sapienza University of Rome
École des Ponts Paritech
National Research Nuclear University MEPhI
IBM
Arizona State University
University of Western Australia
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of California, Santa Cruz
ESADE Business and Law School
Case Western Reserve University
Nanjing University
IESE Business School
Yale University
Yeshiva University
The Ohio State University
Stanford University
Relay Graduate School of Education
Princeton University
Curtis Institute of Music
Wesleyan University
University of Cape Town
Higher School of Economics
The State University of New York
Koç University
National Geographic Society
EIT Digital
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Macquarie University
The Museum of Modern Art
National Taiwan University
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
University of California, Davis
Exploratorium
Universidade Estadual de Campinas
CentraleSupélec
National Research Tomsk State University
emlyon business school
École normale supérieure

Might I add a little word of advice to those of you that are starting out on your careers or interested in changing paths? I’ve never lived above the poverty line. Yeppers, this virtual rich girl is and always has been dirt poor. I raised three kids on my own, all who are making great money in careers they have a passion for. I didn’t have college money for them but I taught them some tricks. One: follow your passion. Two: have a fat resume chock full of things that demonstrate your skills, dedication and interest.

You don’t necessarily have to have some overpriced college degree to break into your field of interest.

That goes triple for fields involving computer expertise by the way. My youngest is a high level engineer who worked his way up thru various tech jobs (starting as a call center tech support person) then continued increasing his skills at his present company which is currently paying for his college education.

My daughter got scholarships and loans to go to college and graduated with honors in the field of social work where few people find a real job in the field anytime soon after graduation. She, however, walked straight into a full time social work job. She did so because she had more than her degree. She had a resume fat with volunteer work experiences from as young as twelve. There’s more than one way to get to the top and I encourage everyone to follow their dreams.

Look for ways to get experience. Take online classes. Look for apprenticeships, volunteer opportunities, or entry-level jobs in related fields that will help you cross over.

Get your supervisors in each of the experiences you’ve acquired to give you a written letter of recommendation. Learn to write a transitional skills resume that focuses on the skills you can demonstrate rather than a chronological list of jobs. Build a portfolio. List yourself on LinkedIn.

Network on social media sites, sites in where people in your field read, learn, share, and support each other. Find groups in your area where people in the field you are interested in meet and go hobnob and pick the brains of those who are doing what you want to do. Look for related groups on MeetUp.

See: The College Dropout’s Guide to Getting a Job Info Graphic

Most important: don’t give up and don’t let naysayers and non believers drag you down. They’ll one day be bragging about how they used to know you before you got all fancy-pants high and mighty!

OK, enough mothering. My job is done. Now, go forth and grow and have fun!


Daphne Koller: What we’re learning from online education TEDGlobal, 2012

MOOCs Making Progress after the Hype Has Died

3 4Interview Daphne Koller Building Coursera University of Michigan Coursera

Crash Course YouTube Channel

Remona Stormborn

Co-Owner of Gaia Foundation in the Great Canadian Grid. Owner of the Builders Resource Center, Rose City Design, & IDEA! in the Great Canadian Grid & InWorldz.

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