7th November 2017
This guide is taken from the Know How Library, a tool on the Unifrog platform. Not sure whether to take the ACT or the SAT? Or how to give the perfect Oxbridge practice interview? The Know How Library is an easily searchable library of 100s of expert guides for both students and teachers, covering every aspect of the progression process. It is included as standard for Unifrog partner schools.
Although a relatively new phenomenon, there are already thousands of MOOCs available, covering topics from Beginners Spanish to How to build your own app. Through a combination of filmed lectures, articles, quizzes and interactive exercises, students will be guided through the course content.
The courses can be anything from a week to a few months in length. Generally there will be a suggested number of hours of study per week but the main advantage of a MOOC is that you can work at your own pace.
Why should I complete a MOOC?
- It allows you to try out a course
If you're unsure of what you want to study at university, MOOCs are a great way of trying out a subject area.
- Evidence that you can work independently
One of the perennial criticism levelled at incoming students by universities is that students turn up at university unready for the level of independence that is required. Doing a MOOC in your own time shows that you can work independently.
Whether it’s learning a language or improving your managerial skills, completing a MOOC will help you learn something new that you can bring to the workplace or your studies. It’s important to demonstrate to employers that you’re constantly trying to improve your skills and a MOOC is the perfect way to do this.
- It can help improve your grades
It’s unlikely that your MOOC will help you answer specific exam questions, but it can certainly deepen your understanding of the syllabus. With greater background knowledge of your subject comes confidence in tackling exams, and this should lead to better grades.
Admissions tutors look for applicants who show a genuine passion for their subject. Plenty of applicants will claim to be passionate in their Personal Statements but very few can prove their enthusiasm with examples of when they have independently chosen to further their knowledge.
At an admissions interview, candidates might be asked to work through problems or answer open questions that they have never encountered before. In these situations, if you are able to apply some information obtained in a MOOC then you will demonstrate both your independent research skills and your ability to apply prior knowledge.
How do I show off a MOOC?
If you want to mention having done a MOOC in your Personal Statement or in an interview, just saying you’ve done it is not enough. Talk about what you learnt. Or what you didn’t learn. Talk about where it’s led you to take your interest next. Did it help you make a connection with another area of your interests that you hadn’t thought of before? Whatever you do, make sure you come across as an active learner, rather than someone who signs up for a course and passively consumes it.
Where do I choose a MOOC?
MOOCs are generally created by universities and are accessed through providers like FutureLearn, Coursera, udacity and iversity. Unifrog’s MOOCs shortlisting tool will help you filter and search through thousands of courses to find the best one for you.