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 having an excellent name, there are four excellent reasons to take a MOOC:
- They’re interesting. If you have a particular 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, no matter how obscure.
- They’re informative. Studying for a MOOC gives you the opportunity to decide whether a specific field of study is right for you. Taking a qualification in your free time before you commit to an undergraduate programme gives you the chance to test the waters.
- 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 sills. 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 free to access. However, many course providers are starting to put restrictions on this. In some instances, you will have to pay to take the final course test and to receive a certificate of completion.
More advanced courses will often charge a fee. This amount can vary depending on the complexity and duration of the course. Generally, the ones that charge a fee or monthly subscription are aimed at professionals.
Here’s our advice on paying for MOOCs:
- 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.
- 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 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.
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:
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