Gadgetress Tales

Apps, Tech & Modern Things

Back-to-School for Grownups: The MOOC Option

homework-highhorseGetting my kid ready for kindergarten made me wonder if parents were feeling nostalgic during this back-to-school season. Me? Not so much. My memories of school were me inadvertently sleeping in and rushing to my college chemistry lab an hour late. The 7:30 a.m. start was just a wee bit too early, especially because I never seemed to go to bed before 2 a.m.

But I enjoyed learning. On my own, that is. Plunging into a story and becoming somewhat of an expert by day’s end — enough to write a knowledgeable story — became my go-to education post college. And today, I’m grateful that I get to sleep in, if I want to. (I can’t seem to sleep in anymore, by the way. I’m up by 6 or 7 a.m. to make sure my not-a-morning-person youngster is up in time for her school’s 8:15 start.)

For my latest story for TheStreet, I wanted to explore what’s new in online learning opportunities. And boy, have I been sleeping in on this! I quickly discovered the rise of MOOCs, or Massively Open Online Courses. (A good resource: MOOC News & Reviews) It started a few years ago when essentially, some college professors opened up their class to online students — for free. Technology was involved to make sure massive amounts of people could peer into the classroom and later, interact with other virtual students. Some classes attracted more than 100,000 students. Yes, this was going to be huge.

MOOCs are still in the toddler stage trying to figure out how to make money, how to keep students coming back for the second, and third, and last lesson. But for the most part, classes are free and interesting! You’ll probably even learn something.

Read a round-up of MOOC providers and get a little more insight on what this is all about:

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