How to Use MOOCs to Support Your Grad School Experience

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By the time my muscle contraction test arrived, I had already forgotten which part did what. I knew the information, but we had covered so much other material that I needed a quick overview to reorient myself. I turned to Youtube’s Crash Course, looking for Hank Green to help me out. In about 12 minutes, I had completely refreshed the concept and dusted off the details.

MOOC is short for Massive Open Online Course, referring to anything from the tutorial style videos on Khan Academy to certificate-for-completion courses offered through Coursera. MOOCs have grown over the last several years to offer material on any subject you can imagine, as in depth or as casual as you could want. In my first semester of graduate school, I’ve found several uses for them.

Student Uses:

- Preparation. For my cardio section of physiology, I prepared for lectures by first watching these videos. I was able to understand lecture material far quicker because I had been exposed to the material already. Using the right MOOC will drastically reduce study time and enable you to engage the lectures when they happen. You have limited access to your professor, so being prepared gives you greater benefit.

- Clarification and Review. As I mentioned above, Crashcourse has helped me refresh some key concepts before reviewing detailed material. In renal physiology, I couldn’t get my head around the flow through the nephrons. I found these tutorials easy to understand and quick enough to leave enough time to study everything else. MOOCs that are more formally organized also have forums, wikis, and other means of interaction that can prove invaluable when professors aren’t available for questions.

- Distraction. If you’re in grad school, you’ve been immersed into your studies in a different and deeper way than in undergrad. You need a brain break. You need something to talk about with friends and family who don’t understand what you’re studying. I love history, so when I need a break, I’ll watch Yale’s history lectures. I don’t have to worry about learning or testing, it’s just fun to use a different part of my brain and learn about something outside of medicine. And I can have a conversation with people apart from my learning.

- Continuing Education. Many MOOCs offer a certificate of completion that requires some testing to receive. This is a great way to show an employer that you’ve invested time and attention to stay current in your area. Accessing that material on your time makes learning while working possible. Once you are out of grad school, chances are that you will need to do this on a regular basis and having a certificate to show you’ve done your work is worth the investment.

Teacher Uses:

- Remedial Use. Many graduate programs could provide remedial education and training without having to develop new curriculum on their own. This allows your program to be more flexible by addressing any idiosyncrasies in your students’ background without making others repeat material they already know.

- Required Reading. Instead of handing out articles to read, or having book after book assigned only to be skimmed through, give your students a list of MOOCs that cover the information. Give them more options than they need and let them pick a few. In the time before starting a course, give them access to a survey MOOC to prepare them for more focused classroom time.

- Peer Instruction. Divide several areas of knowledge between students and have them complete a corresponding MOOC. Then they can present either in groups or individually to teach everyone else and show mastery over an area. Or have students prepare presentations on competing ideas and have a class debate. Covering material outside of the classroom enhances your face to face time.

As more MOOCs become available, the landscape of our education transforms into a hybrid space combining classrooms, computers, living rooms, and offices. Finding ways to make education more efficient and effective means adapting to these new innovations and utilizing MOOCs to supplement your grad school experience.

Written by Ryan English and edited by Laura Morrison, the Content Manager of GradSchools.com. If you’d like to learn more about continuing your education online, find out here.

5 Ways to Make Sure You Keep Your New Year’s Resolution

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1. Make it Measurable

It’s great to create larger, general goals like “I will get in shape” or “I will read more,” but it will be easier to figure out whether you’re meeting your goals if you create a game plan for it and know how to measure your progress. What would being “in shape” mean? Does that mean being able to bench or squat a certain amount? Or does that mean meeting a specific weight measurement? How much reading would qualify as “more”? Define what “success” looks like and then work on the metrics for it.

2. Keep it Visible

We tend to make New Year’s resolutions to accomplish harder tasks –things we already have trouble staying motivated to do or things we constantly forget.  Set up reminders for yourself to make good on your goals. This could mean putting a post-it note on your mirror as a reminder to see while you brush your teeth, setting a phone alert that recurs each day/week/month, or even changing your desktop background to some motivating image. Seeing the hints and mini pep talks everywhere will help you keep up with your resolution.

3. Have Fun

The actions you take to accomplish your goals should be enjoyable in and of themselves as well. If your goal is to eat healthier, don’t just suffer through “rabbit food” without enjoying it. Take the opportunity to look up healthier recipes for the foods you already love, substitute healthier ingredients and make the change gradual rather than immediate.

4. Find a Buddy

It’s hard to be the only one working toward a goal, so why not partner-up with a friend to achieve a common goal? Don’t just fly solo if your goal is to “read more,” why not start a book club and help your friends expand their reading horizons as well. Get your buddies to train for a marathon with you to get in shape. Join a meetup for developers or graphic designers so you have a network of mentors to support you as you lean new skills. You’ll not only make faster progress, you’ll also feel more motivated!

5. Make it Public

Research shows that making public commitments to achieving your goal will help you actually achieve it, especially if it’s a long-term goal. Don’t be afraid to share your resolution with the world. Having friends and family asking about your progress can be really motivating. Who knows, your public commitments can even help you accomplish your goals — consider the power of saying that you’ll find your dream job and then hearing about a new job opening as a result! To that end, we’ve created a gallery of New Year’s Resolutions to help you share yours! Check out the samples below and click here or follow the link on our homepage to find yours!

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An Interview with a Modern Day Renaissance Man

Arian Allenson Valdez won the #Awesome Slates Contest for the “Best Self-Paced Learning” with an outstanding demonstration of how he’s taken on the challenge of a full CS curriculum from Harvard. A self-described learner with “unquenchable curiosity,” Arian shares that he hopes to use Accredible to track his progress towards becoming a modern day Renaissance man — a secret ambition of all of ours, no? Read more to find out how Arian’s making it happen.

Accredible: You’ve taken a number of courses ranging from computer science and programming topics to even courses about Greek heroes. How do you decide on what courses to take?

Arian: I have, from an early age, known that my unquenchable curiosity will result in lifelong learning. My resolve is simple – to diversify as much as possible, to be a renaissance man in this day and age. I love tackling subjects where I could be ‘rusty’ at, and personally enjoy almost all of them! Except Chemistry.

“My resolve is simple – to diversify as much as possible, to be a renaissance man in this day and age.”

This is perhaps not readily obvious from my course choices (they are mostly after all CS courses), but that is because for this particular year, I am completing the Harvard Challenge, where I try to complete the whole coursework of a Harvard CS concentrator in one year. This is directly inspired from Scott Young’s MIT Challenge. There are a lot of differences in the way we tackle the courses, but the idea is the same:4 year curriculum in one year.

Accredible: What is your usual learning process like? (For example: do you like to watch things first & make notes? Try it out? etc.) And how does Accredible fit into your learning process?

Arian: I am almost always more efficient if I am using text, that is why, if possible I use a text-based only approach. Reading a video transcript is not terribly unheard of a strategy for me. However, there are cases where this can be quite detrimental to learning, so using one’s best judgement is still important. And besides, watching video lectures are always fun when quirky things happen! (Seeing Prof. Lewin of MIT carrying that huge femur bone at the start of his physics class is awe-inspiring, and Sir Malan misspelling ‘caterpillar’ and the reactions afterward made me laugh!).

I actually use Accredible as a macro strategy. Accredible is a journal of your learning. I think it would be quite beautiful to see one day a slate showing a video of someone barely hitting the right keys in the piano, while another shows the same person playing grand pieces! Looking back and seeing the growth in skill and knowledge would be priceless!

Accredible: What do you do when you’re struggling with learning something? What advice do you have for people who want to stay motivated? 

Arian: As a person with ‘unquenchable curiosity’ the fact that I’m struggling in learning something is an end for itself for me to stay motivated in learning that! That’s not to say I don’t struggle and lose motivation though.

“the fact that I’m struggling in learning something is an end for itself for me to stay motivated”

For people who have a problem in learning something, then I would say the foundations were probably not solid enough. There are exceptions, but most of the time, DO make sure that you have a solid base for learning. I made this mistake in the past, where I was very curious about Quantum Mechanics and decided to study about it without having the necessary prerequisites (I was in grade school at the time!) While I did learn a few concepts here and there, the efficiency was appallingly bad. I would have learned more in the same amount of time if I studied the prerequisite first and then moved on.

This is probably where the concept of Meta-Learning will come in, basically learning about learning, how to be more efficient and stuff. Tim Ferris’ 4 Hour Chef has quite section in meta learning, and I suggest for people who wish to improve start from there (Scott Young’s blog also has great material!) Gaining Motivation is also discussed in the book.

 

Accredible Contest Hack #9: Leveraging the Power of Peers

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With the end of the #AwesomeSlates contest less than a week away, we’re ready to reveal perhaps the best contest hack yet:  how going social can help you gain endorsements on your Slates (and make them even stronger contest candidates!) and how a strong network can help you stay motivated!

As Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs demonstrates, we thrive when we feel a sense of belonging and feel respected. These very needs easily explain why “peer pressure” and the “bandwagon effect” can be so influential. While these might have negative associations, if we acknowledge the power of peer accountability, we can then leverage it to build networks that help us stick with a course of study, providing inspiration, motivation, and thought partners.

Find Study Buddies

Finding a group study with in college or in MOOCs is a great way to meet people that share your interests and can help you better understand the material you’re learning. Even if you are really confident in your own knowledge, if you find yourself in the position of explaining concepts to others in your group, you’ll find your own understanding solidifying and becoming more nuanced (Teaching is one of the best ways to learn!) So hop on a study forum for a MOOC or host a study session for some classmates.

Go Public

Accredible endorsements are simply quotes from colleagues and peers that attest to your knowledge or skill. After creating a Slate, and filling it up with your impressive collection of evidence, you should ask for endorsements! Asking for endorsements for your Slate can be a intimidating, but the rewards vastly outweigh the initial nervousness. Gaining endorsements boosts your credibility; this is especially valuable for people who may not know you as well or know you within a particular context. Besides the main benefit of gaining credibility and looking even more like the rock star you are, you gain…

  • Increased motivation to continue adding evidence and build out your strengths. The more people see your work after you’re done and shared your Slate with community, the more motivated you’re to put much more into it – creating Slate and learning itself. Accredible helps you to create a portfolio of your mind with every Slate representing your capabilities, talents and value. Accredible allows you to share your achievements with the world and document all your knowledge, making it timeless and enduring.
  • An avenue for feedback about your learning. Feedback is crucial for improvement because it allows you to take a deeper look at yourself and spot weaker areas.  You can get many ideas for improving your work, and even get suggestions for other topics to look into, by sharing your knowledge profile publicly and sharing your Slates.
  • An expanded network. This was an unexpected discovery for us. Some users found new friends based on interests when they shared their Slates with community.

 

Our educational journeys are enriched by the people who cheer us on, critique our missteps, celebrate our achievements, and endorse our strengths.  Don’t be afraid to share your new slates with the world — even if they’re still “blank slates,” you’re inviting others to follow your journey.

0. Contest Announcement

1. MOOC Slates

2. “Saylor category for self-paced learning” Slates

3. Formal Learning Slates

4. Knowledge/Skill Slates

5. How to Make the Most of Accredible

6. Skills ToolBox, an Overview

7. Filling Your Skills ToolBox: How to Brainstorm

8. Adding Creativity to your Toolbox

9. Leveraging the Power of Peers (current)

 

 

3 Simple Tips for Recent Grads Looking for a Job

Today we have a guest post by Benjamin Kim of RedHoop, a super helpful site that helps self-directed learners search for online courses across different platforms. Ben’s job-hunting tips are not to be missed! Read on! 

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For us recent grads, getting a job in this economy is tough.

The unemployment rate may be around 7%, but according to the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, 36.7% of recent grads are “mal-employed,” meaning they hold jobs that don’t require a college degree.

If you’re like me, you didn’t go to college and accrue tens of thousands of dollars in debt to wait tables or bartend, but that’s the unfortunate reality facing many young people today. During my year of cover letters, job fairs, and interviews, I struggled to make myself stand out – a fancy degree from a private university meant little without substance to back it up.

Simply put, a one-page resume is no longer enough for today’s job search. Spending hours upon hours on job boards may have worked for people in the past, but for those of us who are entering this rapidly changing workforce we must make ourselves stand out.

Here are some job hunting tips to help you put your best foot forward:

1. Display your passion and present it well!

Websites like LinkedIn and Accredible are great ways to get started. If not, consider making an online portfolio – while it may be perceived as a resource for artists, aspiring professionals should consider getting one as well. This way you can display your work from classes, volunteering, freelancing, passions, etc. in a medium that truly highlights your personality.

One note about social media: as it becomes an integral aspect of the job search it’s easy to forget that a simple Google search can reveal more information than you’d like! So before anything, clean up your social media. Toggle your privacy settings. This is not to scare you, but instead I’m stressing the importance of finding ways to separate your personal social life and your professional work life.

2. Hone your knowledge and skills as often as you can

A regular course load won’t be enough to impress an employer. Make it apparent that you’re doing more than just the minimum. Skill-based courses will provide you the practical experience that transfers well into the work force. However, I’m a big proponent in taking a wide range of topics that may interest you, so I recommend taking additional courses or learning valuable skills like online. (You can use RedHoop to find more than 4000 online courses, 1500 free online courses).

3. Create genuine relationships, don’t network

One critical mistake many people make is not conducting a deep, insightful research on your prospective employer. If you’re at a job fair, don’t ask questions like “so what do you guys do?” or “what would I do at this job?” Instead, you should be asking questions that really showcase your deep understanding of the company, as well as its industry. Be ready to emphasize why you think you’d be a great fit by relating your previous experiences with the company’s core competencies.

Recruiters get tens, if not hundreds, of unsolicited emails every day from job seekers. People often forget recruiters are not only responsible for bringing talent to their respective companies, but also making sure new hires fit the culture. If you’re shooting off random emails with your resume attached, those emails will likely go straight to the trash or receive one my favorite replies: “I’ll send this to the right people,” only to never hear from them ever again.

Be genuinely interested in not only the job position, but also be genuine to recruiters. After dealing with hundreds of hungry, ambitious job-seekers, they’ll appreciate someone without a giant “Please give me a job” sign posted on their forehead. Of course, your goal is to get a job, but your relationship with a recruiter is a long-term investment that will pay great dividends if you build a genuine personal foundation. Instead, ask great questions and avoid talking about yourself. After meeting them for the first time, follow up via email and briefly explain again why you’d be a great fit – professionally and culturally. Also, to keep the conversation flowing, consider asking a question to further highlight your interest and knowledge. By knowing whether or not you’ll be a great culture fit, you can separate yourself from the students who interview for the sake of interviewing. Instead, you’ll be a job-seeker that is determined and prepared to tackle the challenges ahead, making yourself stand out from the crowd.

Ben is a recent graduate from the University of Notre Dame, where he majored in Television and Media Studies. He is currently interning at RedHoop(www.redhoop.com), a website that helps self-directed learners further their education by making it easier to search for online courses. For any questions, clarifications, or comments, he can be reached on LinkedIn (benk.im).

Accredible Contest Hack #4: How to Create Winning Knowledge/Skill Slates

In the previous blog posts we explored three types of Slates: MOOCs, Formal Learning and Self-paced learning Slates. You may find some similarities between them. Knowledge/Skill Slates are totally different from any of those. Because you are not given any kind of instructions, you can create this Slate  for everything: books, skills or even hobbies. Every type of learning should count, and this Slate is your chance to show who you are behind the traditional courses and ubiquitous lines of your CV. Moreover Knowledge/Skills Slates helps you to save all the learning you’ve ever done.

 

How to work with  Knowledge/Skills Slates?

First of all, you need to decide what the Slate will be about. The content of the Slate will mainly depend on the topic. The hobby Slate will be completely different from the skill Slate. Without clearly defined goals, working further on your Slate will be very hard.

Secondly, the Slate summary might baffle you. “What should I write in it, if I haven’t had any syllabuses or other hints?”. Don’t worry. Think about what you want to save and show the world. Most obvious solutions are not the best in this case. If it’s book learning you want to save, the table of contents won’t tell other people anything about your Slate. However, brief notes of the work you’ve done, skills you mastered or essays you’ve written will show much more.

We advise you to work on your Slate summary twice. The first time is when you are just start creating your Slate, since it’s a great way to think about what you can put into it, kind of like sketching a roadmap. The second time is when you’ve already put all of the materials into your Slate for your summary; be more complete and relevant, which will also give you more ideas on what you will work on further.


Thirdly, use different kinds of tools to help you. Here we list just a few things that may do it:

  • Mind maps for organizing thoughts and ideas.
  • Infographics for remembering data and visualization of information.
  • Docs on motivation and reasons for creating this Slate. Why is it important for you? Why did you decide to master this skill?
  • Plan for further development. Learning is never over and a roadmap might be very helpful for you to not be too distracted.
  • Presentations and videos.

You can put any kind of projects and essays into your Slate. The more methods you use, the more valuable your Slate is for both, you and community.


Pro tip 1.

Since learning is never over, your Slate may grow from just one skill to another. Try not to follow the plan too strictly. Sometimes you may get new ideas for your Slate – do not hesitate to change the direction. Learning is an unpredictable journey full of adventures and surprises. You should be flexible to get the most of it.


Pro Tip 2.

You can save not only knowledge and learning into your Slate, but also experience. Are you fan of Russian Literature and going to visit Moscow next month? Put into your Slate the personal reviews and photos of Mikhail Bulgakov’s Museum and travel notes on Russian Culture as a whole. Or maybe you’re learning Chinese cuisine – why not to insert pictures of your own Chinese cooking into it? Do not restrict yourself only to bookish knowledge, use every kind of learning, experience included, to show your expertise, enthusiasm about topic and proactivity.

 

It’s the last post of our sub-series on Creating Winning Slates (have you submitted yours to our AwesomeSlates Contest?). In the next sub-series we’ll explore the ToolBox of Skills that will help you to fight procrastination, unlock your full potential, and come up with great ideas. You’ll learn how to use Accredible to the fullest and make your Slates better.

Stay tuned!

 

If you have any question, ideas or feedback, feel free to comment or drop a line to hello@accredible.com. What skills do you want to master? How do you plan not instructed self-learning? What are your personal hacks to turn your life into School?  Share it with us and Accredible community on Facebook | Twitter | Google+ or in comments.

 

This post is part of a series on the Hacks to Create Winning Slates:

0. Contest Announcement

1. MOOC Slates

2. “Saylor category for self-paced learning” Slates

3. Formal Learning Slates

4. Knowledge/Skill Slates (current post)

5. How to Make the Most of Accredible?

6. Skills ToolBox. Overview

Accredible Contest Hack #2: How to Create Winning Self-Paced Learning Slates

The Accredible #AwesomeSlates contest is running and we’re posting the series of hacks that will help you to win it. In the last blog post we gave you some insights into creating MOOCs Slates. Today we are going to walk you through one of the most difficult paths: self-paced learning by such MOOCs as Saylor, Udemy, Treehouse and others.

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Some self-paced learning platforms – YouTube, Saylor, Khan Academy, MIT Open Courseware,  iTunes U, P2PU, Udemy, Treehouse, Codecademy

With more freedom, people gain more responsibilities. Deadlines are an effective cure to procrastination, but they are absent in the self-paced learning. Hence you need more motivation and discipline to succeed there. Still, there are many benefits in self-paced learning. In this blog post, you’ll find out how you can use it to your advantage.

Before we can begin, make sure you are signed in. Then you can create a new Slate or open an existing Slate.

How to work with the Slate?

First of all, as for MOOCs and any other type of Slates, official syllabuses are very important – so, don’t skip this step. If syllabuses are not stated, think about what and how you’ll learn and write down your own syllabuses.

Second, planning for self-paced courses is more important than for traditional ones or MOOCs since your success depends on your discipline and organization. You should know exactly what you want to achieve and by what time. When you have infinite amount of time for completion and unlimited sources of information to enhance your knowledge, you can be very easily distracted and spend much more time than you wanted. One of the ways to motivate yourself to follow your plan is to state your plans in a public document and add it to your public Slate from the beginning.

Third, you have more freedom and more time studying self-paced courses. You can put more effort and creativity into creating extra work. This will make your Slate truly innovative and beautiful and enhance its credibility. Still, be sure that you planned your work thoroughly because it’s very easy to get lost in oceans of available information.

Pro Tip 1

Accredible Slate can be very useful for you in terms of planning. Before beginning to study the subject, create a doc with detailed plan on what and when you’ll cover. Publish it in your Slate to commit yourself to this plan. The format of document may be in any way you like! You can use tabs, checkpoints, to-do’s bullets for things you want to study.

Alternatively, you can create a public Trello board to plan and schedule your course work and add it to the Accredible Slate.  This way you don’t have to worry about forgotten personal deadlines.

 

Pro Tip 2

Whenever you write some notes or take a quiz, add them to the Slate and go ahead with the learning. You could also record videos of yourself explaining what you learnt in a given unit. This way you won’t worry about lost knowledge. These archived artifacts are immensely helpful in revising too!

Danny King, CEO of Accredible, explains Gamification concepts (see it on his Gamification Slate)

You can even win $150 Amazon voucher for your learning. So don’t forget to enter your self-paced learning Slates to our #AwesomeSlates contest: https://www.accredible.com/contest

We’ve explored hacks for creating MOOC Slates earlier and self-paced learning Slates today. The next blog post will be tips for creating Accredible Slate for traditional learning. Stay tuned!

This post is part of a series on the Hacks to Create Winning Slates:

0. Contest Announcement

1. MOOC Slates

2. “Saylor category for self-paced learning” Slates (current post)

If you have any question, ideas or feedback, feel free to comment or drop a line to hello@accredible.com. What are your thoughts on planning beforehand the learning? How do you do it? Have you submitted your AwesomeSlate to the contest?

Beginner’s Guide to MOOCs: 1. Major MOOC Platforms

At Accredible, we are passionate about learning. In this article we walk you through the three largest MOOC platforms today: Coursera, Udacity and edX. How are they different? What kind of courses do they offer? What platform will suit you the best? We’ll give you the knowledge to choose when and how to study from each, based on your own interests and learning styles.

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So, what is a MOOC? The term has been around the web for a couple of years and Wikipedia gives the following definition:

A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aiming at large-scale interactive participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings, and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive user forums that help build a community for the students, professors, and TAs. MOOCs are a recent development in distance education.

Coursera

Founded a year ago, by Stanford Computer Science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, Coursera is the most popular MOOC platform today. More than 3 million students take classes on diverse topics offered by 62 universities from various countries.

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What makes Coursera unique is the wide range of subjects they cover. You can take courses in Arts, Economics, Life Sciences, Law, Computer Science, Chemistry and many more, all taught by leading educators throughout the world. This great variety gives you incredible flexibility to explore as many topics as interest you, no matter how diverse your interests are.

Each course runs on a fixed schedule so you’ll have to ensure that you have enough free time to study the courses that you want, but if you miss a particular course or there are too many that clash you can simply study them the next time the re-open. Some courses also offer archives and self-paced schedules

Coursera does not produce the courses on their platform themselves, but rather allows universities to create them under a set of guidelines and a common structure, generally consisting of weekly short video lectures, content quizzes and assignments and also including a midterm and final exam but this varies between courses. Some have only quizzes and videos whilst others have only a final exam. Also, computing courses generally have automated coding assignments while humanities courses usually use peer-reviewed essay assignments. The final decisions on teaching style, course content and grading rubrics are made by the individual universities and so quality and style can vary between courses.

Most courses offer free completion certificates (although not all) and some are eligible for Coursera’s Signature Track, which for a fee can give you an enhanced certificate for which Coursera verifies your identity.

Udacity

Udacity is another Stanford-born MOOC platform and was founded by Sebastian Thrun, David Stavens and Mike Sokolsky in February 2012. Unlike Coursera, the emphasis was mainly on Computer Science but they have since expanded to include Mathematics, Physics, Business and Psychology courses to its catalog.

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Unlike Coursera, Udacity courses are all self-paced; you can study as much or as little as you like each week. This can be very valuable for students that have less flexible schedules or less free time. Of course, this also requires stronger motivation and organizational skills to complete the courses without Coursera’s looming deadlines – which many students find useful. However, many students have found great ways to overcome these challenges and we’ll be sharing these secrets with you in another article in this series!

 Also unlike Coursera, which has many introductory courses, Udacity courses are divided into three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Each course also has requirements and follow-up courses, making it easy to plan a more structured, “degree-like” curriculum.

Udacity create all of their courses themselves and they follow their own unique pedagogy style with strict quality control. The team of instructors, teaching assistants and video editors work closely together to create courses that are well designed and highly polished.

edX

Founded in 2012 by MIT and Harvard, edX is the East Coast answer to Stanford-initiated startups. Initially, edX offered Engineering, Computer Science and Science courses but they now offer courses on Humanities and Liberal Arts too. Many other universities have now joined non-profit initiative: Berkeley, The University of Texas System, McGill Australian National University, Wellesley, Georgetown university, University of Toronto, Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne, Tu Delft and Rice.

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The nature of edX courses is much more similar to offline college courses than with the other platforms but there is a feeling of great polish and quality for each one, especially with their Computer Science assignments which are very in-depth and interactive. Unlike Udacity, courses are not self-paced and unlike Coursera, the courses usually last between 10-12 weeks as opposed to Coursera’s shorter 5-8 week average.

You may find edX courses more challenging than courses of other platforms because edX’s courses are much more rigorous than Coursera’s and less tolerant in terms of deadlines than Udacity’s. However, the studying process is organized in the way most convenient to the student. It’s consistent: once you learn how to use edX, you won’t have to change your studying approaches and habits due to the new regulations or policies.

Looking ahead

MOOCs are a young phenomenon and they are still evolving dramatically. So which platform should you choose? Each platform has its own unique style, pros and cons and many students prefer to study on several platforms simultaneously.  Each will enhance your knowledge and help you to develop skills in expertise at the amazing price of $0. If you want to diversify your knowledge, browsing Coursera’s huge breath of subjects is a great place to start. If you are more interested in gaining a deeper understanding of a subject, then Udacity and edX are excellent options for when you want to advance beyond introductory courses.

In our next article in this series we will explore other less well-known but equally valuable MOOC platforms.

This post is part of a series on the Beginner’s Guide to MOOCs:

0. Introduction

1. Major MOOC Platforms (current post)

2. 5 MOOC Platforms you should know about

3. 5 MOOC Professors to See Before You Die

Extra:

1. AwesomeSlates Contest: Win Up to $750

2. Make All Your Education Count: Redesigning CV

What do you think of the ‘big three?’ Do you have a favorite? Let us know in the comments! If you have any ideas, questions or suggestions for future articles send us a note at hello@accredible.com – we’ll respond to every one!

Happy learning!

Beginner’s Guide to MOOCs: 0. Introduction

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”

Plutarch

 

Experts believe that the two most essential needs of a learner are:

  • Freedom to explore and express ideas
  • Access to resources that aid in getting answers to their questions

Perhaps this is why massive open online courses (MOOCs) have been a catalyst for discussion and created a huge buzz. For the first time people have the opportunity to learn whatever they want from the best professors in the world, for free. 2012 will always be remembered as the year of the MOOC. Now we all have the ability to enhance our CVs, gain new skills and broaden our minds if we’re willing to join the adventure. Missing this opportunity is a huge mistake.

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But the world of MOOCs can be complex and unfriendly for the new adventurer. What is a MOOC platform? What are the differences between various MOOC platforms, such as NovoEd and Coursera? Where can I gain particular skills which will suit me the best? How can I choose between two courses with similar material? How can I study effectively, succeeding in my studies whilst balancing my real-world responsibilities? Finding the answers to these questions can be frustrating and time consuming, ultimately detracting from what you’re trying to learn. Why not learn from the experience of others?

Accredible is happy to announce the series of articles which will help to make your educational journey easier and more enjoyable. We will guide you through the maze of platforms and courses, giving you roadmap to make the most of your studies.

The disruption happening in education is opening access like never before. Everybody now has the opportunity to educate themselves, regardless of their socio-economic background or geographic location. An internet connection, proper motivation and a little time are the only things needed to wield the awesome power of knowledge.

So, enjoy the ride whilst we take you on a journey through the education revolution. Let us know what you want us to explore, what problems you’ve encountered and stay tuned for the next post.

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This post is part of a series on the Beginner’s Guide to MOOCs:

0. Introduction (current post)

1. Major MOOC Platforms 

2. 5 MOOC Platforms you should know about

3. 5 MOOC Professors to See Before You Die

Make All Your Education Count: Redesigning the CV

With all the amazing innovations and developments within academia and edtech at the moment, one content area that seems to have been left behind a little is the common CV.

Education has evolved dramatically over the last fifty years yet things like CVs and certificates haven’t changed for hundreds of years. They are (at best) shiny pieces of paper with a name, grade and institution printed on them.

CVs tend to contain very pigeon-hole style of content such as ‘education’, ‘work’ and ‘interests’ which ultimately only create a very low resolution image of a person and one that is liable to deception.

For example, if you get a B in Computer Science does that mean you were generally ‘average’, or are you an exceptional programmer with a weakness in some other part of the syllabus that isn’t relevant to the job at hand? 

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Here at Accredible, we’ve been working hard to improve the way that credentials and certificates are generated across MOOCs, university courses also as wider learning by using peer-review and
reputational networks to determine and maintain quality.

By re-imagining the idea of the certificate to be more than just a statement, we can create a living portfolio of evidence that shows you have certain knowledge or skills. You can also get a much ‘higher resolution’ image of who a student is, what they can do and a list of evidence proving that.

And this is where we feel there’s a parallel between our work on credentials and CVs: rather than simply listing your achievements, we feel that you should be able to provide evidence to back up your claims, be they across your education, work or skills.

Below is an example of one of our MOOC slates giving examples about how this approach could be similarly used to demonstrate your personal capabilities on a CV:

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Unlike your traditional certificate or CV, you can create as many Slates as you like, each with a different course or program you studied to help build up a more rounded vision of your education.

Of course there’s also a direct benefit to your prospective employer as well as it gives them a much better chance to understand who you really are and why you really are perfect for their role. With greater transparency, comes better hiring decisions and a much lower risk of hiring the wrong candidate!

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the future of CVs and how developments in the EdTech space are changing the way we list our achievements. Is there still a place for CVs and if so in what sort of context? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Do you want brand-new CV of 21st century? Sign up at https://www.accredible.com 

Need inspiration or don’t know where to begin? Here’s some amazing slates to help you. https://www.accredible.com/gallery