Where Can I Find a List of Mas­sive Open Online Cours­es (MOOCs)?: We main­tain a reg­u­lar­ly-updat­ed list of MOOCs on this page: Free MOOCs from Great Uni­ver­si­ties (Many Offer­ing Cer­tifi­cates). The list aggre­gates cours­es from many dif­fer­ent MOOC providers, both large and small.

Does Open Cul­ture Offer Its Own MOOCs?: No, we sim­ply aggre­gate MOOCs cre­at­ed by oth­er orga­ni­za­tions and insti­tu­tions. We don’t offer any of our own cours­es.

Do These Cours­es Offer Cer­tifi­cates? Many MOOC providers will give stu­dents a “Cer­tifi­cate of Com­ple­tion,” “State­ment of Accom­plish­ment” or some oth­er equiv­a­lent if stu­dents suc­cess­ful­ly com­plete a course. If you sign up for a course, you should check to see what (if any) certificate/statement is offered.

Do the Cer­tifi­cates Cost Mon­ey: Some do. Increas­ing­ly the MOOC providers are switch­ing to a mod­el where they will give away a course for free. But the cer­tifi­cate costs mon­ey. On the page where we offer a list of MOOCS, we include a key that explains what cre­den­tials a course offers. If you need to pay for the cre­den­tial, we include a “$” sign. For exam­ple: VC$ = Ver­i­fied Cer­tifi­cate.

How Do Stu­dents Receive a Cer­tifi­cate? Stu­dents eli­gi­ble for a cer­tifi­cate will usu­al­ly access it in a dig­i­tal for­mat. They are usu­al­ly down­loaded. And they look some­thing like this.

What’s the Dif­fer­ence Between a Cer­tifi­cate of Mas­tery, State­ment of Accom­plish­ment, Cer­tifi­cate of Com­ple­tion etc? In short, not much. Dif­fer­ent schools and course providers have come up with their own ter­mi­nol­o­gy. But they are basi­cal­ly equiv­a­lent.

Can I Get Cred­it at My Uni­ver­si­ty If I Take a MOOC? Gen­er­al­ly the answer is no. If you take a MOOC and get a Certificate/Statement of Accom­plish­ment, you gen­er­al­ly can­not take the cer­tifi­cate to your uni­ver­si­ty and get actu­al cred­it. There area a few rare excep­tions to that rule. If you have any ques­tions, you should check with your uni­ver­si­ty.

Can I Get an Under­grad­u­ate Degree by Tak­ing MOOCs? Giv­en what’s said imme­di­ate­ly above, the answer is gen­er­al­ly no.

Can MOOCs Help Me Get a Job? That remains to be seen right now. There is not a con­sen­sus here, but there are hope­ful signs. A recent arti­cle pub­lished on the Stan­ford Grad­u­ate School of Edu­ca­tion web site states:

Human resources exec­u­tives and recruiters tell me they aren’t see­ing sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of can­di­dates tout­ing the MOOCs they’ve com­plet­ed. But those who have seen men­tions of MOOCs say it’s an indi­ca­tion of com­mit­ment to upgrad­ing skills and knowl­edge.

At Mass­a­chu­setts Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal, recruit­ment man­ag­er Megan Bradley says, “I see these online cours­es as a form of pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment, like when peo­ple take adult ed cours­es. If a job requires a [spe­cif­ic] edu­ca­tion­al degree, these cours­es would not suf­fice.”

Bruce Allen of the Wake­field recruit­ing firm Point B Search says, “Any ini­tia­tive that can­di­dates take to update their skill set, acquire new skills, or sim­ply extend their knowl­edge base will be viewed as pos­i­tive.”

Are MOOCs Free?: The cours­es are almost always free, as are often the cer­tifi­cates offered to stu­dents who suc­cess­ful­ly com­plete the cours­es. In some cas­es, stu­dents will need to pay nom­i­nal fees for texts.

What If I See an Inter­est­ing MOOC That Has Already Start­ed or Has Already Fin­ished?: Often MOOCs get offered sev­er­al times a year. You can fol­low our list of MOOCs to find future offer­ings. There are some “ever­green” MOOCs that you can take any time. Find a list here.

Who Are MOOCs Good For? We think MOOCs are a good thing if you’re a life­long learn­er who lacks easy access to edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties, in what­ev­er form they might come. But if you’re an under­grad­u­ate, and if your school is try­ing to replace real teach­ers with MOOCs, you’re prob­a­bly not get­ting a great deal. Case in point.

Are There Any Ques­tions Not Answered by This FAQ? Feel free to send us a note and let us know.

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.