• Four Questions to Ask a MOOC

    Barry Lenson

    What is a MOOC? (Hint: It’s not a large animal with antlers that ambles across highways in Maine.) A MOOC is a Massive Online Open Course. In other words, a course that anyone can sign up for any time. Today, MOOCs are being offered by many universities, including Stanford, Vanderbilt, Wesleyan, and more. For an overview of more than 100 MOOCs, check out a list that was published on When you read that list, you will find some interesting notations in the fine print. You’ll discover that some of the MOOCs listed will give you a Certificate of Completion after you have finished your course. Others will give you a Certificate of Mastery.  Others will give you nothing. So the message seems to be that it is a good ide ...

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  • Help, I Took a MOOC – Now What?

    Jeffrey Simons

    Or, “How to get credit for what you learned in a non-credit-bearing course” By Jeffrey Simons Taking a MOOC sounded like a great idea. Who wouldn’t want to take a free online course from top professors at the best universities in the world, like Harvard and Stanford and MIT? That’s probably why hundreds of thousands of students signed up for them. Some of them even finished the courses, although sadly, fewer than you’d think. (Many MOOCS have dropout rates of 90% or so, according to articles like this one in The Chronicle of Higher Education.) But let’s assume you’re one of the students who stuck with your MOOC to the end. Now what? What do you do with what you learned? Because you see, with MOOCS, to some extent, ...

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  • Free Online College Courses MOOCs vs. StraighterLine

    Barry Lenson

    Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) have been making the news a lot lately. Just this week, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced plans to fund research that will explore the role that MOOCs can plan in American higher education. But at the moment, what is your best educational option and value - free online college course MOOCs, StraighterLine, or something else entirely? The answer is, it really depends on your educational goals and needs . . . If you just love learning and don’t care about earning credits for the courses you take, MOOCs are probably your lowest-cost learning option. Think of them as a jumbo online adult school where you can study something that interests you without paying for courses. If y ...

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  • Why You Should Take Online Courses Instead of MOOCs

    Barry Lenson

    Massive Open Online Courses, also known as MOOCs, are free lecture courses that are distributed online. They’ve been making the news lately because Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Duke, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Yale, and other well-respected institutions have been offering them. If you want to take the pulse of this important new trend in American higher education, check out a website called Academic Room, which covers the trend and lists courses. Let’s face it. MOOCs are great. Who could possibly argue with a chance to take a course like Ancient Israel, taught by Prof. Daniel Fleming of NYU, or The Thriving Green Economy, taught by a group of Stanford Professors? And those courses are free. Why not sign up and learn all you can? But ...

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  • What are MOOCs?

    Beth Dumbauld

    MOOCs are massive open online courses. MOOCs are free lecture-based courses available online from some of the world’s most well-known colleges and universities. These free college courses are distributed without limit online and are available to any person, anywhere in the world. Currently, you do not earn college credit for taking MOOCs (massive open online courses). MOOCs are offered through the following online college course aggregators: EdX: Course material provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University, and Berkeley (University of California) Coursera:  University of Washington, University of Toronto, Caltech, The University of Edinburgh, University of California San Francisco (UCSF), Stanf ...

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