What is a MOOC?

A few months ago my boss came in and told me he wanted to start offering MOOC’s in conjunction with one of his books Ingredients of Outliers.  My first question of course was “what is a MOOC?”

A MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course.  Finding out about MOOC’s opened up a whole new world of education for me.  I had not idea so many companies and school’s offered high quality online learning.  I had known about online education through traditional schools, but these classes are typically designed with real world application in mind.

My three favorite MOOC sites are:

Udemy offers online courses taught by your next door neighbor.  Anyone can add a class.  You’ll obviously find a few duds because of this, but for the most part I’ve been very impressed with the variety of classes.  Classes range in pricing from free to thousands of dollars.  Udemy offers a satisfaction guarantee which I’ve never used.  I’ve taken classes on photography, yoga, web design, leadership, public speaking and personal finance.  The sky is the limit with this site.

Coursera is one of my personal favorites as well.  It is completely free and all classes are taught by University professors.  Some classes even offer actual credit/certification for a minimal fee.  These classes tend to be more oriented towards traditional student learning subjects.  However, don’t let that scare you away.  I took a course called “Understanding Media by Understanding Google” that was exception.  It isn’t currently open, but you can add it to your watch list for future classes.

The Great Courses is probably the original MOOC company and is still known for their audio book’s on pretty much every subject under the sun.  Their courses tend to be more expensive, but you get what you are paying for.  Their courses, particularly some of the newer video classes are amazing.  I’m currently taking a “Fundamentals of Photography” course taught by Joel Sartore a National Geographic Photographer that is unreal.  I have been so impressed with this class.

You can find a log of educational resources on Youtube as well, but I’ve noticed that if I actually sign up for a class and make that committment I’m  a lot more likely to finish the course.  If you are interested in learning I highly recommend any of these resources.