MOOCs offer a great opportunity to gain knowledge and skills from the comfort of your own home, and at no cost. There is however a vast choice of courses available for different learning styles, and knowing how to effectively filter through the options can save you a lot of time and effort.
This guide will give you a step-by-step approach to finding the right MOOC for you.
If you are new to MOOCs, the best place to start is with one of the main MOOC aggregator sites, such as CourseTalk or Class Central. To see a list of the main Online Course Directories, click here.
Most online course directory sites have similar search and filtering tools to help you narrow down your search.
1. If you already know the title of the course you wish to study, simply type it into the search box on the main page. This will take you to the course overview page.
2. If you don’t know the title of a particular course, start by selecting the subject area by clicking on the “Subjects” tab. This will bring up a list of subject areas you can choose from.
3. Click on the subject area that interests you. This will bring up a list of courses related to your subject choice with the name of the Provider, the course type or start date, the cost if applicable and the overall rating if the website has course ratings.
4. You can narrow your search further by using the filtering tools which may allow you to filter by rating, cost, start date, language, platform, workload etc
5. Clicking on a course title will take you to the course description page where you will find an overview of the course as well as any ratings and reviews that have been submitted for that course. Reading through the reviews can be a useful way to find out more about the course from a student’s perspective. Make sure you read both the good and the bad reviews (if there are both) to get the full picture.
6. For more detailed information about the course, click on the “Go to Course/Class” tab. This will take you to the course page on the platform providing the course. To ensure the course suits your needs and learning style, you will need to check the following details:
i. Course pre-requisites & the level of study
ii. The course syllabus
iii. Suggested readings if applicable
iv. The course length and estimated weekly workload
v. The course start date if applicable (it may be on-demand)
vi. The course format – will it be delivered by video, audio, written text etc?
vii. Technical requirements if applicable
viii. The language the course is delivered in and if subtitles are available
ix. Who the instructors are – there is often a short biography of the course instructors
x. Certification – check what types of certificates the course offers and their cost
7. If you find a course you are interested in, most course directory sites have a course tracking tool where you can bookmark courses for future reference. This option will also be available on most platforms providing courses. You will need to sign up in order to do this.
Other resources to help you get started with online learning:
The Beginner’s Guide to e-Learning (I)
Getting started with online learning
Getting started with MOOCs
How to study a MOOC
Online Study Tips
Glossary of e-learning terms
A Guide to MOOC Certificates
Using Online Course Directories
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