MOOC

 

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Massively open online courses now give anyone with a computer and an Internet connection access to higher education. Mike Lenox, who teaches at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, gives a good explanation of MOOCs and an analysis of their potential to disrupt the education industry . That’s pretty interesting and good background for us to have, but I like MOOCs for another reason.

Have you ever wondered if you chose the wrong career? Do you know that your job skills have gone stale? Do you lack experience working virtually and across cultures? You can address all of these challenges by taking a MOOC.

MOOCs give you a low risk opportunity to learn about new fields via free online learning. Do you think you should have been a coder? Take Harvard’s 100 level coding class along with a couple hundred thousand other people from around the world. Just looking at the syllabus convinced me that I should not have been a coder. Minimal investment from me, maximum sigh of relief.

Has your boss complained that your writing sucks? Yes, I said “sucks.” Take coursera’s rhetoric course. You I might learn how to express yourself myself without using the word “sucks.”

Do you find yourself competing against younger people who are comfortable working virtually and with colleagues from other cultures when you aren’t? Pick a MOOC that requires you to work on a virtual project with fellow students from around the world. If the MOOC is job related, you can feature the project on your resume and LinkedIn profile to demonstrate your up-to-date skills.

Whatever your lagging job skill, check to see if there’s a MOOC that can lead to your professional growth and development.

Now, looking at my suggestions, they sound like a lot of work. I’m not a big fan of blog posts that suggest that people commit a lot of time or money to anything. For example, blog post titles like “30 Must Read Business Books” make me really anxious. I must? 30? Gulp. That’s over the rest of my life, right? I’m a fan of small, incremental progress. So I like MOOCs because you can dip your toe in and see what you think without making a big commitment. Like it? Take the deep dive. Don’t like it? Use your delete key.

Interested? Check out the infographic below for a good snapshot of the MOOC landscape. It shows who funds MOOCs, which universities teach courses, and the major online platforms (courseraedXKHANAcademy, and Udacity) where you can find MOOCs. Click through and get involved in taking education viral.

Major Players in the MOOC Universe infographic by Nigel Hawtin, Graphics Editor, Newscientist.

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