With the large number of free and high quality online learning courses available it’s never been easier and cheaper to learn about our planet and it’s eco systems. No whipping out the credit card – just sign up and join the hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of other like minded people.
MOOC’s are a particular style of online course becoming more and more available. Massively Open Online Courses are, as the name suggests, big, and open to anyone and online. Big in this context means the number of participants. These courses, often run by highly reputable universities are open to anyone and have no limits to how many people can join.
MOOC’s are typically run for a set period of time such a 4 or 8 weeks with a set start and end date. While participants are encouraged to work through and interact online with the content together, being self paced it’s also your choice how you work through the materials. You could start late and catch up, scan for what catches your eye or pick and choose what content you work through and when.
The recent Climate Change MOOC hosted by Swinbourne University in Exeter, UK was an 8 week course including videos by professors and scientists, links to reputable information hosted by organisations such as NASA, discussion forums, quizzes to check your knowledge and projects to complete and share.
Of course not all MOOCs and online courses are equal but with no cost to join it’s easy to sign up and pick and choose
At the time of writing this, here are some of the courses on offer from two of the leading providers:
- Futurelearn: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses
- Coursera: https://www.coursera.org