The rally cry for free post-secondary education has been forefront in mainstream news since before the 2016 election. The closest solution that there is today to free college are MOOCs. MOOC is the acronym for Massive Open Online Courses. As of June 2018, over 9,000 students are seeking degrees through MOOCs. There are currently 25 online MOOC degrees from various colleges and universities.
Although the jury is out whether MOOC degrees are a sustainable business model, the concept has caught on with mainstream educational institutions around the world. But is an MOOC degree as viable as a traditional online degree? Taking MOOC courses is usually free. However, you have to enroll in your chosen institution and pay tuition for an online MOOC degree. The overall cost of that MOOC degree can be significantly lower than an institution's traditional on-campus degree. This can make getting the degree worth it to many students, as often previous MOOC coursework can be transferred to a degree program.
Who Offers MOOCs?
Stanford University was the first institution to offer a MOOC back in 2011. Today, there are 81 million students taking over 9,000 MOOC courses through over 800 colleges and universities worldwide, according to Class Central, a regularly updated web site for MOOC data and general information. Of those hundreds of institutions, there's currently only one bachelor's degree offered; the rest are master's degrees.
The online education provider, Coursera, offers the most MOOC courses with 2,700 actively available. Coursera's platform partners with such universities as Stanford, Princeton, and the University of Michigan, as well as international institutions like HEC Paris and Peking. Other MOOC providers include edX, Udacity, Kadenze, and FutureLearn. Each offers courses from institutions worldwide, including MIT.
The Value of MOOCs
If you aren't interested in an online degree, taking MOOCs is a practical way to explore future degree options or to get a certificate in a specific field. EdX and Kadenze offer college credit for individual courses. Most MOOC courses are offered as part of a credentialing system through the host institution. Over 500 participating colleges and universities offer the credentialing option.
For lifelong adult and corporate education learners, having thousands of course and degree options available 24/7, 365 days a year, means you can work toward your masters degree at your own pace from the comfort of your home. You can also take courses that simply interest you, like Introduction to Astronomy, or a project management course tied to your professional objectives. Thousands of adult learners have found value in a course's mastery or in an online degree that takes you to the next level in your educational objectives or in your job.
For more information, contact colleges like Southwest Technical College that offer online classes.