MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. This term captures a huge range of courses that cover all kinds of topics. They’re super useful for boosting your knowledge or helping you get to grips with a new subject, but they can also impress during your uni, apprenticeship or job application process. We have all the essential info about MOOCs below.
Why take one?
Apart from their excellent name, there are four main reasons to take a MOOC:
- They’re interesting. If you have a niche hobby or field of interest, it might be hard to find related learning opportunities at school. MOOCs offer the chance for students to study across all kinds of different subjects, and anything you want to learn about.
- They’re a good test. Studying for a MOOC can help you decide if a specific field of study is right for you. It’s a way to test the waters, and see for sure if you are interested in the subject.
- They’re impressive. Taking the initiative to complete an online course shows that you’re a dedicated student. Universities and employers will see that you’re an independent learner who is happy to go the extra mile.
- They can boost your skills. 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.
How much do they cost?
One of the most appealing aspects of MOOCs is that they’re often completely free. Some more advanced courses can charge a fee, and in some instances you have to pay to take the final course test and to receive a certificate of completion.
Here’s our advice on finding out whether a MOOC is free or not:
- Most providers of these courses will clearly list what you can access for free and what requires payments. Look at the help section of the provider’s website to find the full details.
- Often, even if extras such as the final test and certificate cost money, you can still take the main course material for free. You don’t need the extras to write about taking a MOOC on your Personal Statement or job application, and of course, you’ll still have learnt what was in the course!
At Unifrog, we will list the normal costs for extras and certificates for each MOOC provider. However, our Shortlist page doesn’t account for the different payment options offered by providers. These can vary from course to course.
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 how it made you realise what you are interested in, or any new interests it helped you develop. Did 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 and Coursera. Unifrog’s MOOCs shortlisting tool will help you filter and search through thousands of courses to find the best one for you.
Below, we’ve listed just a small selection of the courses available at the time of writing. As you can see, they cover a broad range of topics: