Despite the fact that study abroad programs are becoming more affordable each year, participating in such programs is still expensive. However, thanks to technology, it is possible to study abroad without leaving home and, more importantly, without spending a penny! But how? By taking a massive open online course (MOOC) offered by the best universities in the world!
What are MOOCs?
In general terms, MOOCs are online classes taken by a massive number of people (more than 100,000, in some cases) that are usually free of charge.
What types of classes are there?
MOOC providers offer courses in various subjects, such as computer science, entrepreneurship, communication, medicine, art, economics, nutrition, algebra, design and many more! Most classes have no prerequisites!
Which universities offer MOOCs?
Here is a list of some universities that offer MOOCs (by country):
How do I enroll in a class?
Universities offer MOOCs through providers. For this reason, in order to enroll in classes, you need to access the websites of MOOC providers and create an account. The main providers are Coursera, Udacity and edX.
What is the language of instruction?
Most classes are offered in English, but there are many courses taught in Chinese, French, Italian, and Spanish. In addition, there are discussion forums in many different languages. You can even participate in offline study groups with people in your area and in your language.
Why should I take MOOCs?
- They are free (most materials can also be downloaded for free)!
- They are taught by some of the best professors in the world!
- They are self-paced, so you have the flexibility to watch the lectures and do the classwork whenever you have time.
- You can explore a variety of topics from the comfort of your home and without the strong commitment required by traditional courses (although completing MOOCs involves a certain level of commitment).
- You can discuss the material with people all over the world!
- They provide a glimpse into different educational systems (this is great for those who are thinking about participating in academic programs abroad!).
- You can improve your foreign language skills by watching lectures taught in other languages.
- Some MOOC providers already offer certificates for those who complete the courses successfully and colleges are starting to accept MOOC certificates for credit.
I am currently taking a class called “How to Build a Startup” through Udacity and I am also enrolled in four other courses (1- “Nutrition, Health, and Lifestyle: Issues and Insights,” 2- “Design Thinking for Business Innovation,” 3- “Globalizing Higher Education and Research for the Knowledge Economy”, and 4- “Computer Science 101”) through Coursera. I can’t wait to explore even more topics in the future! How about you? Are you taking any MOOCs yet?
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To read this article in Portuguese, click here.