Once the MOOC “revolution” got underway, universities, usually slow-moving and tight-fisted institutions, couldn’t run fast enough to put their own MOOCs online. And, right now, we’re seeing the results. In January alone, 180 MOOCs from major international universities, will get underway. Below we’ve highlighted some of the courses that intrigued us most, but you can peruse the complete list here and make your own choices.
If you haven’t tried a free MOOC, I’d do it sooner than later. In recent weeks, the whole MOOC project took a hit when a University of Pennsylvania study found what was becoming empirically obvious — that MOOCs generally have very low participation and completion rates, and what’s more, most of the students taking the courses are “disproportionately educated, male, [and] wealthy,” and from the United States. This study, combined with other disappointing experiments and findings, will likely make universities think twice about sinking money into creating MOOCs (they can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000 to develop). It might take another 6–12 months to see the shift. But I’d hazard a guess that this January might be the peak of the free MOOC trend. Enjoy them while they last. Whatever their shortcomings, they can be quite informative, and you can’t beat the price.
- Jazz Appreciation (SA) — UT Austin on edX — January 21 (10 weeks)
- Introduction to Computer Science (CM) – Harvard on edX – January 1
- Introduction to Genetics and Evolution (SA) — Duke on Coursera — January 4 (10 weeks)
- Introduction to Public Speaking (NI) – U. of Washington on edX – January 7 (10 weeks)
- Shakespeare’s Hamlet: Text, Performance, and Culture (NI) — University of Birmingham on Futurelearn — January 13 (6 weeks)
- Exploring Engineering (NI) – Brown University Continuing Ed on Canvas – January 13 (2 weeks)
- Principles of Written English (SA) — Berkeley on edX — January 16 (5 weeks)
- Moralities of Everyday Life (SA) — Yale on Coursera — January 20 (6 weeks)
- Mobile Health without Borders (NI) — Stanford on NovoEd — January 27 (8 weeks)
- Good Brain, Bad Brain: Basics (NI) — University of Birmingham on Futurelearn — January 27 (3 weeks)
- Was Alexander Great? The Life, Leadership, and Legacies of History’s Greatest Warrior (SA) — Wellesley on edX — January 27 (13 weeks)