In 2013, The Chronicle of Higher Education explored how British universities have begun to offer massive open online courses (MOOCs). The best and brightest faculty of the UK will teach academic courses with open access in an online format. Similarly, several institutions in the United States, particularly MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Dartmouth, UC-Berkeley and more, have lately followed suit. And that can be very good news for Thomas Edison State College students.
Created for large-scale participation via the web, MOOCs are inherently self-directed. Students need not be registered in a school to take a MOOC, and are not required to pay a fee. This powerful format allows students to learn in an informal setting, and connect across boundaries, time zones and disciplines. The only requirement for a MOOC is a willingness to learn.
That same year, Coursera, a well-known provider of MOOCs, reported over two million students taking more than 200 online courses made available through 33 partnership institutions. These courses, offered around the world, were taught by some of the world’s best and most sought-out instructors. Subjects ranged from foundations in business to highly unusual electives, economics and more. From basic to advanced courses, many of these programs are 10 weeks in length and free. Taking one of these courses is an efficient and economical way to prepare for a credit by exam program and earn three credits toward your degree.
In making MOOCs and other resources more accessible to students, the College was awarded a grant from the Thomas Edison State College Foundation in 2013 to fund the development of such courses. Under the direction of the College’s Center for the Assessment of Learning, several assessments have been developed using open courses and resources so students who complete these programs can earn credit toward a degree.
As MOOCs continue to grow and develop, disciplined, motivated and independent learners can expect to reap the rewards.