From the early days of xMOOCs, I have seen them as useful marketing tools for universities – capturing their most engaging professors on film for all to see. I have also seen MOOCs as useful for professional development, especially in a world where more people are self-employed and where employers are no longer paying for workshops or other professional development. I had not considered the value of MOOCs as a way for mid-career professionals to determine a path to further education. In a recent chat with a friend, she mentioned that she was taking a Coursera MOOC on the Design of Instruction in Health Professions. For her, a dentist with a university teaching appointment, this was to be a launching point into a Masters degree. The MOOC gave her the opportunity to explore the subject to see if additional education in that area was going to be useful for her.
Now I think back to my undergraduate years, and how useful MOOCs would have been to me back then. I could have explored a MOOC on Political Science and discovered before I signed up for a credit course in Political Science that it wasn’t a good fit for me. I could have explored Philosophy and Psychology and perhaps would have chosen my electives better. Perhaps we should be encouraging more first year students to explore MOOCs to help them find the right path?
Would MOOCs have helped you in your undergrad years? or as a mid-career professional? How?