MOOC. I confessed. Back in 2007 during the Moodle boom I never did forecast the potentials of the MOOC, but as top universities began to leverage on being involved with organisations such as Coursera and Udacity, its purpose have become increasingly profound.
I myself have embraced the MOOC, and am now currently enrolled in two certified courses with Duke University and Michigan University respectively. These courses are indeed free, but better things as they say don’t come free. My courses each costs me an introductory fee of US$49.00. A fantastic investment considering the amount of knowledge you get in return.
Apart from university consortium MOOCs, I have also embarked on courses in TreeHouse and CodeSchool. Exclusively for programmers, I found the route system and the GBL effect of needing to complete a level apropos to my childhood upbringing. However, I am yet to devote much time into these programmes as they are only relatively known within the programmer circles, and is more skills than academic; which is of great help if I were to create software but not so if I were to conduct research on policies.
Programming skills would complement the theoretical knowledge provided by academic courses, and before you know it, you have all grounds covered when being bombarded by questions from the conference audience. MOOC is like the minor tweaks you do on your field(s) of expertise which is why it sits nicely within the periphery of mainstream education. The logical step beyond this is to have employers regard MOOC certifications as professional add-ons to an individual’s array of skills and knowledge.