M.O.O.C.

What exactly is a M.O.O.C?  It is a Massive Online Open Course.  These are courses that universities and colleges are providing online for people to take.  Some courses have fees and some do not.  In most cases at the end of the course you can get a certificate of achievement.

One place I have found several MOOC’s has been at Coursera.org.  Their mission:

Coursera is an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide, to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free.

We envision a future where everyone has access to a world-class education. We aim to empower people with education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in.

The great thing about Coursera, and other MOOC’s,  is that you can expand knowledge in a subject and even learn completely new topics.  For example if you wanted to learn Chemistry, Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination, how to learn there are classes available.  The classes offer usually a certificate of completion and/or a verified certificate.  In order to get a verified certificate students must pay a fee, have a valid identification and a webcam.  You don’t have to sign up for a verified certificate in order to take the course and get a grade, in fact you don’t even have to take the quizzes or do assignments in order to learn from the courses offered.

Depending on the course either the material is available on a weekly basis, or they put up all of the videos for the entire course for students to work through.  The courses vary in length with some lasting only a few weeks to three months.  It all depends on the format of the course and the material that the instructor (and college) want to convey.

The other great thing is that for some of the courses even if they have ended the information is still available online.  So even though the course ended two months ago I can still join the class, and listen to the lectures.

Below are just a few of the courses I have run into:

Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects Provided by the University of California, San Diego.

This is a 4 week course that I found to be a lot of fun.  It is a great overview of how we learn and how our memories work.  It provides a lot of techniques for improving memory and for learning in general including how to deal with procrastination.  It would be a great course for anyone to take, even those who already took a Learning and Memory psychology course in college, and I highly recommend the class.  The course goes over:

  • How we learn and the two modes of thinking
  • How our memories work
  • Things to do to improve memory
  • How to handle procrastination
  • Ways to study and take tests
  • How changing thoughts can change your life
  • How to be a better learner

This course actually became more popular as the course went on with enrollment  in the third week reaching 177,000 students.  Another session of the course is now scheduled for October 3rd, and in the future they plan to offer the course so students can go through at their own pace from start to finish.

Here is a TedTalk by one of the course instructors Barbara Oakley on Learning How to Learn:


 

Creativity, Innovation, and Change provided by Penn State University

This was a fun course to take.  It lasted for 6 weeks and helps expands ones definition of creativity.  Some of the points of the course were:

  • We are all creative
  • We all engage in Divergent (big picture lots of ideas and solutions) and Convergent (narrowing down solutions to pick one) thinking.  A perfect example of this is coming up with many ideas (divergent) for lunch and then picking just one (convergent),
  • We all have our strengths and it is important to work together.  For example if one person on a project is more abstract in thought and another more detailed it is important to find the value in each other.

They had some fun exercises for the course as well.  Here is a video from the first session of this course, the one that just ended had an additional instructor:


 

Inspiring Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence by Case Western Reserve University.

This 8 week course that started on August 17, 2014 and is into the second week.  However there is plenty of time to join the course and catch up.  Here is an intro video:


 

Think Again: How To Reason And Argue provided by Duke University.

This is a 12 week course that started on August 25, 2014.  The course goes over “how to analyze and evaluate arguments and how to avoid common mistakes in reasoning.”

Here is a video that describes the course:

 


Animal Behaviour and Welfare Provided by the University of Edinburgh

This was a 5 week course that I found to be very informative.  It covered the basics of animal behavior and welfare, as well as current insights into the needs and emotions of dogs, cats, farmed animals and captive wildlife.


Personal and Family Financial Planning Provided by University of Florida

This 8 week course started on August 20, 2014 and covers the basic principles of financial management.  Financial management is something that everyone should have a basic concept and understanding of.

 

As you can see there are a lot of courses that are offered and it is well worth it to check some of them out.


 

Links:

Introduction to Chemistry Reactions and Ratios (https://www.coursera.org/course/chem991)

Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination (https://www.coursera.org/course/forensicaccounting)

Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects (https://www.coursera.org/course/learning)

Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects (https://www.coursera.org/course/learning)

Learning How to Learn | Barbara Oakley | TEDxOaklandUniversity (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O96fE1E-rf8)

Creativity, Innovation, and Change (https://www.coursera.org/course/cic)

Creativity, Innovation, and Change with Jack V. Matson, Darrell Velegol and Kath (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1zbcfEe51E)

Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence (https://www.coursera.org/course/lead-ei)

Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence with Richard Boyatzis (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=je9n8rQHyFo)

Think Again: How to Reason and Argue (https://www.coursera.org/course/thinkagain)

Animal Behaviour and Welfare (https://www.coursera.org/course/animal)

Personal & Family Financial Planning (https://www.coursera.org/course/uffinancialplanning)

 

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