Learning Online for Free

It may sound too good to be true: college classes from some of the most prestigious institutions in the world open to anyone with computer and internet access all for free. Yes, you read that correctly, FREE. MassiveOpen Online Courses, most commonly known as MOOCs, are exactly that and are growing in popularity. You'll need to understand MOOCs a little better to understand if they're the right way to learn for everyone.

The Basics:

  • Anyone can enroll in a MOOC (all you need is access to a computer and the internet) – there is no enrollment process for the schools.
  • MOOCs are free unless you want to receive a certificate of verification upon completion (those certificates of completion range in price but hover under $100 dollars).
  • MOOCs can not be transferred to universities for college credit (while a handful of MOOCs are certified as college credit worthy, there is not much information on schools accepting them or any stories of students who have successfully used them for credit).

The Benefits:

  • MOOCs are a great way to learn new information in a variety of academic disciplines. Reports suggest most students enrolled in MOOCs already have college degrees and consider themselves life long learners.
  • Some jobs or associations may grant continuing education units for the completion of MOOCs. Ask you employer or certifying agency to see if MOOCs can be used to meet your CEU requirements.
  • MOOCs can be a great way to test the waters of online learning without having to pay tuition or fees for a traditional online class.

Here are some things to consider if you're asking yourself, are MOOCs a good option for me?
– If you are looking for a free way to get college credit for an undergraduate degree then MOOCs are probably NOT your answer.
– If you are looking to take classes to enhance your knowledge, improve skills, learn about new topics then MOOCs ARE probably a great educational avenue for you.
– If you are looking to test out online learning before enrolling in a traditional for-credit online course, MOOCs are a great way to do that.

If you are interested in enrolling in a MOOC you can find hundreds of courses open for enrollment through one of the following MOOC provider portals:

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