For many years I have been using on-line resources to train up on a wide area of technical subjects including, scripting, programming, XHTML, CSS etc. Some of it structured courses, most just a collection of reference material and examples.
Recently I have been exploring the fairly new concept of MOOC’s,Massive Open On-line Courses. Over the past six months I have completed a number of courses covering a broad range of subjects, from Community Journalism, provided by the University of Cardiff to An Introduction to Chinese Culture from South China University of Technology.
It has been an interesting exercise and is rapidly becoming a regular pastime for me, opening up areas of interest that I may never have discovered otherwise.
I have been using to providers, Futurelearn and Open2Study, both of these are portals to a variety of courses, Futurelearn is predominantly Uk and European University provided courses, Open2Study is supported by the Open Universities Australia and course are from Australian and Eastern Universities.
MOOC courses are a combination of video lectures, written material and tests. Students can interact with each other and course tutors in discussion groups and forums. From my experience a course usually requires from 2 to 4 hours a week to complete and the fact that material is available via PC, tablets, and mobile devices, make it fairly easy to make use of any downtime to progress with the course. Most courses have a scheduled duration and you work at your own pace but within an over all course duration, others are completely open and you really have no time constraints.
Certification in most cases is limited to a certificate of completion of participation so of limited value, however, from a personal perspective, it’s the acquisition of knowledge that is important.