MOOC: an affordable and flexible way to advance your skills

Online Education
Student attending online class. Photo: Rido/Shutterstock

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is a new global phenomenon in Education. It is a model for delivering learning content online to any person who wants to take a course, with no limit on attendance. Though it is still no match for the regular form of education, where physical interaction is limited, MOOC still comes with its own benefits. That there is no limitation to the number of students in a class remains one of its main advantages. Traditional MOOCs are free online university courses offered by colleges all over the world that are normally not eligible for credit. Their enrollment can run upwards of 100,000+ students and anyone around the world can register. 

After registering, students will typically work at their own pace to watch informative lectures and lessons, complete assignments, and take exams. And since it is online, you can learn it from any part of the world, sitting in the comfort of your home. You can also learn it for free or for reasonable fees in any form you want. You can get video access to some of the best university lecturers’ classes.


• There is no age limit to attend any courses.

• There are no prerequisites for MOOC learning. You can sign up for any class no matter your background or age. Just be prepared to put in the effort.

• For those who have taken regular courses in colleges and schools, they have the option to learn subjects that are not in their syllabus. College schedules are tight, so you might not be able to take every course that you want to. Your school may not even offer a subject that you are interested in. This is where MOOCs can help. 

Search on one of the MOOC providers’ websites to find interesting classes. The subjects range from yoga to personal finance to engineering to IT to English composition, etc. In some instances, you can pay a fee to receive college credit for your hard work. Check with your school’s transfer policy before paying.

• They can learn a subject that is not in their regular course. (For example, medical students can study professional economics or poetry)

• During campus placements, those who have taken such online courses will get an advantage. Employers look for several soft skills in their future employees. Some degree programs help students develop these skills better than others do. Free online college classes like MOOCs help bridge the gap between college graduates and employees.

• MOOC course will benefit those who are appearing for interviews to get professionally qualified jobs and other high-profile jobs. 

• If you still wondering if college learning is right for you, taking MOOC will help you understand what college classes are like before you are paying for them. The tests you take and assignments you complete offer insight into what the next four years might look like. If possible, try out a course at a college you are considering attending.

• Anyone from any country with internet access can take a MOOC class. Participants can communicate with one another through discussion threads and social networking. Just like in a real classroom, you will learn from your peers and possibly broaden your worldview too.

• MOOCs are a free way to learn a new language at your own pace. Easily return to lectures as needed and take your time learning instead of cramming for exams.

How it works

Some of the world’s best Universities and Colleges are offering online classes to millions of students. On offers are everything from languages, science, history to traditional subjects to artificial intelligence. And most of them are free. You only need to pay for the certification.

They are not simply videotaping the teacher’s classes but also making use of the various possibilities of Information Technology. The catechism is being used very effectively—lectures, text, audio, video, presentation, quiz, project, interactivity, question-answer sessions, discussions, e-mail correspondence, chatbox, interactive lab, experiments, assessments are the various mode of learning. 

The classes are interestingly placed—which includes brief audio-video clips, PowerPoint, slides, models, creative discussions. Google classroom, Zoom, Learning Management system, AppStream, Livestream, are some of the platforms used for this purpose. 

MOOCs in India and Abroad

There are various notable institutions, both non-profit and commercial, that offer these courses worldwide with the help of MOOC providers. A few of these are listed below, 

• NPTEL (India): Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) offer online courses through this platform which require no registration and are free of cost.

• WizIQ (India and USA): IIT Delhi, India offers this course through this platform which requires registration and fees to study courses offered by them.

• Open2Study: The headquarters of this platform for online courses is based out of Australia.

• Coursera: The headquarters of this platform for online courses is based out of USA.

• edX: The headquarters of this platform for online courses is based out of USA.

• Udemy: The headquarters of this platform for online courses is based out of USA.

MOOC program in India

The University Grants Commission (UGC) along with the HRD (Human Resource Development) Ministry has launched the MOOC program in India for higher secondary, bachelor's, and master’s degrees. This will cover a wide range of subjects that may or may not be taught in regular campus studies.

A new portal for MOOCs named ‘Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds’, in short, SWAYAM, is said to present students with an opportunity to study anything from a list of 2000 courses out of which 200 are currently available for registration. Audio-visual medium, illustrations, research, and case studies with self-assessment are a few of the mediums chosen to approach the study of these courses.

At Udemy for example they offer 1,30,000 online courses. Some of the top categories include Design, Development, Marketing, IT and Software, Personal Development, Business, Photography, Music. 

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