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Massive Online Open Courses

  1. Dec 31, 2013 #1
    What is everyone's opinion on MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses), those free online courses that anyone can sign up for. Some offer certificates, do you think they are worth doing to put on a resume? Do they hold any value? Do you think they could be taken into consideration when applying for school or a job?

    This is my opinion:
    I think they could hold some value if the course was something like intro to programming with python or something in that ball park. It just shows you hold a simple skill, I guess you could always learn it on your own and just list it as skills on your resume though. A lot of schools are doing online classes but without the actual diploma to back it up I don't see things like MOOCs doing much for someone regarding school and jobs.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 31, 2013 #2


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    I recently took a MOOC that didn't deliver what I had hoped. I wanted to learn a particular statistics software package featured in the class. But that part of the class was just a video over someone's shoulder while they used the software...umm, right :uhh:.

    That was my only experience. I'm not deterred though! I plan to take another class as soon as life settles down a bit. In theory, I think it's a great idea.
  4. Jan 1, 2014 #3
    I am not a fan of MOOCs. I tried two from Johns Hopkins University last Winter where other students graded our essays, not instructors. If you saw the way people typed, complained, or even seemed to think, you would understand why this is such a bad idea.

    I later tried two courses from MIT in Spring. This time it was a programming course, so it was actually not bad, but I much prefer face to face time myself. Some people at some colleges might be impressed that you earned a certificate from MIT though and give you credit or waive requirements. My community college might have should I have followed through with the course, but I did not realize the standards would be so low here before I started my first semester. MIT's free courses were much more rigorous.
  5. Jan 2, 2014 #4
    I've done 4 programming courses (using Python and JS), and one statistics and another on complex analysis with 2 different MOOC's so far (Udacity and Coursera) and I really enjoyed the experiences. I think perhaps programming, and computery-maths courses are more suited to this style of teaching, as they can present the material in a web based editor/compiler (using JavaScript, or Python or something similar), it certainly wasn't just watching over someones shoulder, I found it quite interactive especially once you had the assignment and ventured onto the forums with a few thousand other students. I'd almost say the student2student teaching was the best part of the courses.
  6. Jan 2, 2014 #5


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    I have taken a MOOC through Coursera purely for personal interest -- a mathematical models course taught by Scott Page from the University of Michigan -- which I greatly enjoyed.

    I think the quality and utility of MOOCs will depend very much on the quality of the instructor and his/her skill in the use of the technical capabilities. It may well be that programming/computer science or math-related subjects may be especially well-suited to such courses for the reasons cited by others about web-based editors/compilers, plus the use of forums to interact with students and instructor.
  7. Jan 2, 2014 #6
  8. Jan 2, 2014 #7


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    1) I think they might have possibly mistargeted their courses.

    2) Finding a way to add some human interaction (preferably directed by an instructor/mentor) would be a huge improvement.

    From the article Greg linked to:
    This comment isn't quite complete. There's a huge need to keep your knowledge level current even after you've graduated and found a job. (Which is why it's a bad idea to get a master's degree in an engineering (or similar field) immediately after your bachelor's. It's better to get your master's degree after you have enough work experience that a master's degree would actually help you - and as a means to have a degree with a more current graduation date.) Even if the certificates (if any) you earn don't help you, they certainly won't hurt you, plus you need to be able to speak intelligently during a job interview about more than just your current job.
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