So You Miss Learning

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


I was in school for well over two decades. The entire time I was in school all I could think about was the freedom that would come once it was all over and done with. Always in such a rush! I never really realized how much I actually enjoyed learning and classes until I was finished with it forever. All of a sudden I had all of this time and after about a year of "freedom" I realized that all I really wanted to do was take a class again, so I did!

During my graduate studies there was a huge movement in higher education that got a lot of attention in the field. Really though change in education, in general, is so rare that even the tiniest new way of doing something causes an uproar. In an effort to make college level coursework more accessible and affordable several different Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platforms were created. 

A MOOC is different from your standard college course in that, typically, you can audit the course and have access to just about everything for free. It's also different in that there is no limit to enrollment, so if you thought your general education courses were crowded then you may want to avoid the discussion boards. 

In addition to MOOCs, a bunch of different universities also invested in OpenCourseWare, which they use to release material from courses previously or currently taught at their institution. Basically it's a great time to be a lifelong learner!

Listed below are 5 different platforms you can use to begin your venture into continuing your education for the sheer joy of learning. 

1 | Coursera

This is the largest MOOC platform that currently exists. There are all sorts of courses from universities all over the world. Most of the content for many of the classes is available via the Coursera app available on both android and apple systems. Super convenient!  

This is also the only platform that I have taken a course on. My one complaint is that for courses that you can audit, instead of paying for, you are able to view the quizzes and assignments, but you can't actually submit them. It's a little frustrating because I'm not entirely certain that I'm fully understanding the material. 

2 | edX

I believe this is the second largest MOOC platform today. Again, lots of different courses from all over the world. I haven't actually dabbled in any of these courses yet, but plan to in the future. They also appear to have an app on both android and apple systems, but I can't speak to functionality.

3 | Open Education Consortium


Remember when I mentioned OpenCourseWare? This seems to be the easiest way to access all of those courses that various instituations have made available. There are a couple of cons to this. First, there isn't a list for you to access and pull from, until you get to a participating school's website. This means you really have to think about what you want to learn about so you can search for it. Second, most of the courses I have come across are basically course material, like the syllabus and lecture notes. Not my favorite.

4 | Saylor


These courses are all free, but the layout reminds me of a prettier version of OpenCourseWare. Lots of good information, just not my favorite way to learn.

5 | Alison


I stumbled across this site yesterday, so I don't know a ton about it. There isn't a huge course offering, but if none of the above 4 work for you, then maybe this will.

Am I the only one who was so ready to be done with school and now misses it?
Have you ever used any of these sites?
What class do you think you'll take first?

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