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5 Ways Students Can Use MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) to Get Ahead


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In the past few years MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have been a popular topic for colleges and universities.  Seems like every semester another big name school or professor introduces another open course.  While MOOCs are not typically accepted for college credit, there are ways high school and college students can use them to advance academically.

Massive Open Online Courses have been heralded for making higher-level education accessible to everyone.  The classes are typically free and are open to anyone with an interest in the topic and access to the Internet.  Here are some top ways for high school and college students to effectively use the opportunities presented by MOOCs.

Explore possible majors

Most high school students do not have the opportunity to take classes in specific fields. MOOCs allow students to explore topics of interest without having to worry about cost or grades. An interested student could try out classes in engineering, biochemistry, art history, or political science. Because they are usually free and the grades earned won’t impact their high school or college grade point average, MOOCs can offer a great opportunity for students to explore potential majors.

Learn from top names in a field

Not every college has the top professors in every department. One appeal of MOOCs is the ability to take an online class from top names in a field. Well known professors from Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Yale, Berkeley, Georgia Tech, and other highly ranked national universities are accessible to all interested participants through these online programs.

Determine if online learning works

Many colleges and universities are developing distance-learning programs. In some cases students can earn their entire undergraduate degree online. But online learning does not work for everyone, some students struggle to complete courses where all lectures, assignments, and discussions are online. Taking a MOOC prior to enrolling in any distance learning courses at a college can help students determine if this type of learning works for their learning needs.

Develop Skills

Massive Open Online Courses allow students of all ages, talents, and backgrounds the ability to learn new concepts and develop skills in a field. Prior to taking a college class for credit students can get ahead by taking a MOOC. Learning about physics, computer science, economics, statistics, or psychology by taking an open online class over the summer can help students develop skills they will need during the academic year.

Get Ahead

While MOOCs aren’t usually offered for college credit, students who successfully complete an online program can print a certificate of completion. Completed courses can help students get ahead in particular courses or enhance their resumes demonstrating advanced participation and achievement in particular fields.

Massive Open Online Courses are changing the way students access and experience topics. While these courses are not intended to help students earn college credits towards the completion of a degree, exposure to the topics, professors, and online delivery methods can help high school and college students advance academically.

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