edX Courses Starting in September

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EdX is bringing many new courses to you again this month, including several from Peking University (PekingX) and one from Université catholique de Louvain (LouvainX).  Topics vary from the Civil War to the War for the Greater Middle East and many subjects in between.  What courses will interest you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which ever you choose, don’t forget to update your Accredible Learner’s Profile!  Remember you can link your courses straight to your LinkedIn profile, keeping your resume current and also showing your commitment to personal and professional development.

News & Views (Week of 8/4 – 8/10)

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This week’s MOOC news includes a profile of Gandhi, workshops, and new courses in highly unique subjects. Check it out!

News

Similar to last week’s news, Udacity has opened up a few more of their classes to have the option of getting a verified certificate.

Coursera‘s blog has a fascinating infographic on the supply and demand of MOOCs and IT jobs (in Europe specifically).

Starting tomorrow, edX, Canvas, and many other MOCO providers will participate in a workshop series on MOOCs. Watch the livestream and get the schedule of events here.

Futurelearn has recently updated some of their site’s features, including messaging and notifications.

 

What is Team Accredible Learning?

Open2Study, the MOOC provider which has month-long courses on a wide variety of topics, has a few courses starting in August! From Mobile Robotics to Antarctic Science, check them out here.

One of our writers has a profile on Mahatmi Gandhi, and his self-directed learning journey. Did you know he was a poor student and more interested in sports and games as a student in school?

 

What do Computers, Globalization & Water Have in Common?

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They are all course topics found on edX next month! EdX has several great courses starting soon so if you are interested in Thermodynamics, Immunology or the Ideas of the 20th Century (or any previously mentioned topic!), keep reading for these and other great courses below!

Thermodynamics

July 29   (length: 12 weeks)    free

Introduction to basic concepts and applications of thermodynamics in mechanical engineering.  There will be emphasis on problem-solving. Students will need to spend significant effort on solving exercises. The course is designed for students in mechanical engineering. However, others (both engineers and scientists) are likely to find it useful. The course has also been found to be useful to teachers of thermodynamics.  A basic knowledge of high-school physics and chemistry is assumed; ability to do college calculus (differentiation, integration, partial derivatives, and exact differentials) is required.

Introduction to Linux

Aug 1     free

Develop a good working knowledge of Linux using both the graphical interface and command line, covering the major Linux distribution families.  This course explores the various tools and techniques commonly used by Linux programmers, system administrators and end users to achieve their day-to-day work in a Linux environment. It is designed for experienced computer users who have limited or no previous exposure to Linux, whether they are working in an individual or Enterprise environment.

Fundamentals of Immunology, Part 1

Aug 18   ( length: 8 weeks)      free

Learn about your body’s defences against disease: how it can identify threats and coordinate counter attacks.  When you’re sick, you may wonder, “Why me?” But the real question should be, “Why am I not sick all the time?” You might even ask, “Why does my body respond with a fever, and is it really a good idea to lower it?” This course explores immunology, how the body defends itself from constant assault by parasites and pathogens. This course will present the fundamentals of both innate and adaptive immunity, emphasizing functional interactions among cells and organs. We will cover signaling, pathogen recognition and the division of labor among myeloid, lymphoid and supporting cells. The subject matter will also supply health professionals and biomedical researchers with the basic vocabulary and concepts necessary to understand both clinical press releases and primary literature. The course materials also provide support to other immunology instructors by presenting difficult concepts in creative ways using analogies and models.    This is the first part of a two part course. Fundamentals of Immunology, Part 2 will start in October 2014 after the conclusion of Part 1.

Circuits and Electronics

Aug 25   free

Teaches the fundamentals of circuit and electronic analysis.  The course introduces engineering in the context of the lumped circuit abstraction. Topics covered include: resistive elements and networks; independent and dependent sources; switches and MOS transistors; digital abstraction; amplifiers; energy storage elements; dynamics of first- and second-order networks; design in the time and frequency domains; and analog and digital circuits and applications. Design and lab exercises are also significant components of the course.

Age of Globalization

Aug 27   (length: 15 weeks)    free

Identify the historical and cultural systems driving globalization and changing societies around the world.  Globalization is a fascinating spectacle that can be understood as global systems of competition and connectivity. These man-made systems provide transport, communication, governance, and entertainment on a global scale. International crime networks are outgrowths of the same systems. Topics include national identity, language diversity, the global labour market, popular culture, sports and climate change.  Expects familiarity with the general subject matter, but does not expect more than a general understanding of either concepts or vocabulary. The course may expect familiarity with other undergraduate course materials.

Ideas of the Twentieth Century

Aug 27   (length: 15 weeks)  free

Learn how philosophy, art, literature, and history shaped the last century and the world today. The last century ushered in significant progress. Philosophers, scientists, artists, and poets overthrew our understanding of the physical world, of human behaviour, of thought and its limits, and of art, creativity, and beauty. Scientific progress improved the way we lived across the world. Expects familiarity with the general subject matter, but does not expect more than a general understanding of either concepts or vocabulary. The course may expect familiarity with other undergraduate course materials.

Introduction to Computer Programming, Part 1

July 29   (length: 6 weeks)    free

This 6-week course provides students with a foundation in computer programming.  Participants will get to read and understand many sample programs, and will have to write several on their own. This course deals with procedural programming, and attempts to inculcate good programming practices in a novice programmer.  Knowledge of high school mathematics is essential and adequate. Exposure to pre-calculus is desirable.

Introduction to Water and Climate

Aug 26   (length: 8 weeks)    free

The basic elements of and the relation between water and climate are highlighted and further discussed together with their mutual coherence.Water is essential for life on earth and of crucial importance for society. Also within our climate water plays a major role. The natural cycle of ocean to atmosphere, by precipitation back to earth and by rivers and aquifers to the oceans has a decisive impact on regional and global climate patterns.

Remember to add these great courses to your To Learn List!  And let us know below which great edX courses you decided to take in August!

How to Get Your Dream Job Without the Required Experience

Ambition of a young architect

Right major?  Check.  Enough software knowledge?  Check.  Cultural Fit?  Check.  Sufficient years of experience?  Uh-oh.

You’re looking at the job listing for your ideal gig just a little while after graduation and feel the excitement mounting inside of you with every requirement you know you can fulfill.  Then you see that you need 2 years of work experience – which you don’t have as a new grad.  Ugh.  Do you pull back and look for a position that you don’t want as much?  Do you resign yourself to a job you know will bore you for the next couple of years?

No.  Stop and think like a hiring manager. They are looking for candidates who know their stuff.  It just so happens that the general consensus says knowing your stuff requires some experience in the industry.  This study by McKinsey & Co. and Chegg even says that college graduates are under prepared but overqualified for employment…a finding that will naturally push hiring managers away from hiring recent grads.

So clearly, your next step should be to prove that you are sufficiently prepared for employment.  How?  Build a portfolio of work similar to what you would be doing on the job and submit it with your job application.  Refocus the potential employer’s attention on your skills and potential and away from metrics that don’t necessarily describe what you can do properly.  Here’s how.

 

Step 1 – MOOCs:  Learning the Skills

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are classes from well known Universities that professors modify for distance learning to allow access to any student for free.  Many of these courses teach exactly the same material as what the professors teach in their traditional classes, but you can take them in your spare time without spending money to build your knowledge and skills base.

Keep in mind that your major and college classes are not the full span of your capabilities.  An English degree is a great base for a copywriting career, but taking a few classes on your own time in marketing techniques can give your writing the boost you need to land that job at an ad agency.

Websites like Coursera and EdX provide great platforms for MOOCs.  It is important, however, to record your work for the class.  The assignments and projects you complete are great additions to your professional portfolio, as they legitimize the coursework you do through MOOCs.  You can keep track of all this by downloading your work as you complete it, or by using websites like Accredible to transfer all of your online coursework to one place that can be linked to the rest of your portfolio.

 

Step 2 – Speculative Projects/Case Studies:  Applying the Skills

There are case studies all over the internet – taking a few and using skills you learned from college and your MOOCs to write an analysis for each can help get your feet wet in the kind of thinking you need to solve problems in your industry.

Speculative or freelancing projects are also great ways to simulate what you will be doing later in a full time job.  Telling a small or mid-sized business or nonprofit organization that you are willing to help them out for free or little charge is an easy way to land some of these projects – this is time you are spending building work experience regardless of the amount you are getting paid.

Specifically working with nonprofit organizations in a volunteer position not only gives you the added experience for your newly developed skills, it also shows a more human side of your personality.  Maybe your volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity relates to your passion for fighting poverty, or perhaps your commitment to proper healthcare is showcased through your extensive work with the Red Cross.  Talking about your volunteer work in an interview is also great way to transition to you personal qualities and cultural fit.

 

Step 3 – Research:  Effectively Showcasing the Skills

Know what’s going on!  Read the news, find new articles on techniques and technology, and learn to use the newest software.  Once your profile gets you to an interview, you still need to prove that you can hit the ground running upon receiving an offer.

Having background knowledge about developments the company and its industry can help you come up with possible solutions to their problems before you are even working there – there is no better way than that to show that you would be an asset to the team.

Follow those three steps and you can show the hiring manager that you are perfect for your dream job because even though you don’t have years under your belt, you have the necessary skills and can demonstrate initiative to continue building more in the future.

How to get a “Degree” on Your own Terms Online

Catherine's grad cap

When you combine the fact that the cost of getting a bachelors degree has skyrocketed within the past 20 years and the easy accessibility of packaged MOOCs, the question appears: How could one create a “degree” using only MOOCs? It turns out a few people have; here are some of them and a sampling of the options available. Alyxandria is a new initiative aimed at providing competency-based peer reviews and accreditation of courses. Started by someone who decided to make his own bachelor’s because he couldn’t afford one, the project is in its infancy and it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out. MBA’s are a popular degree choice, but also increasingly expensive. My DIY MBA is a blog run by someone who, after graduating and working for a while realized that he really wanted to understand the business world. Since he couldn’t afford going to college for one, he decided to craft his own, through books and other materials. The DIY Degree describes a method by which one can “test out” of courses to eventually earn a degree given by a traditional university.

Each of the three most popular MOOC providers, Udacity, Coursera and edX, provide packages of courses that provide a “degree”-like experience. Some of them even offer tutoring or more rigorous exit exams or certifications. Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 5.00.19 PM edX’s XSeries course sets are sets of MOOCs which upon completion grant you a special certificate indicating more in-depth knowledge.

  • Each XSeries is made up of MOOCs from the same university
  • Available in 5 subjects: Water, CS, Aerodynamics, Astrophysics, and Supply Chain Management
  • Cost: ~$50-100 per course + $75 program fee

Coursera’s Specializations are similar to XSeries’ with the addition of a final capstone project.Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 5.01.49 PM

  • Each specialization is made up of MOOCs from multiple universities
  • Available in 10 subjects, ranging from teacher education to CS to music
  • Cost: $29 or $49 per course + $49 capstone fee
  • Financial aid available

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 5.02.52 PMUdacity’s Nanodegrees will launch this fall. They’re being created with major tech companies to ensure that the subjects taught align with what is needed in the workforce.

  • Available in Front-end Engineering, Back-end Engineering, iOS Engineering and Data Analysis
  • Cost: TBD
  • Includes a dedicated coach, projects, recruitment possibilities, career resources and more!

Remember to use Accredible to document your learning in whichever “course pathway” you choose! Happy learning, teamsig-small (1)

Making it Easier to Finish That MOOC

Finish Line

It sounds like it would be pretty classy, telling an interviewer (or a date) that you’re studying English Literature & the Classics at Harvard.  Luckily, MOOCs allow you the luxury of saying just that (without having to pay any tuition!).

What definitely wouldn’t be so classy is saying you dropped out of the class after a week.  Of course, we all run into scheduling problems and there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything.  But that doesn’t mean you need to give up on your dreams of becoming a modern day Shakespeare!

Try ‘Always Open’ MOOCs

You go to a MOOC platform site and sign up for a computer science class that you need to take next semester at your home university.  You are excited because binary isn’t really your thing and this class will help you prepare for the next semester to make it easier for your to follow along during lectures.  Then, your boss calls and tells you you are scheduled to for dinner service every night next week.  You know you won’t be able to handle univeristy homework, school, and your new computer science MOOC at the same time.  With a heavy heart, you put the MOOC on the backburner and end up so behind, you have to give up on the 12-week MOOC altogether.

Now, imagine that this computer science MOOC was actually an open course that could be completed at any time.  You could turn in assignments whenever you wanted, could watch any of the lectures at any time, and could take as long as you needed for each project.  In this case, you could just start the class a week later than originally planned and not be at all behind.  Guess what?  There actually are great courses like this.  One is the CS50X Intro to Computer Science course from Harvard on edX.  It is an open class that is available for a full year and can be taken at any time within that time frame.  It is a highly praised MOOC with positive reviews from alumni and critics alike, and works around your schedule.

But wait…the offer doesn’t stop there!  What if you could have short open courses that take up a small amount of time and offer a whole lot of content?

Cut it Down

Platforms like Udemy and Khan Academy offer shorter tutorial-style classes that will probably not give you an in depth education in a particular subject area, but will provide a solid introduction.  You can complete such classes in a couple days or less, making them a great choice when your schedule is too busy for a long term class commitment.  You can cut down class time without halting your learning experience completely.

Cutting down on time commitment can also simply mean taking fewer MOOCs at once and being careful not to bite off more than you can chew.  The key to is plan a solid strategy.

Strategize

When you commit to earning a college degree with a particular major, you tend to plan out which classes you want to take and the best times to take them.  Knowing this in advance helps you plan your surrounding schedule in a way that it won’t impede on study time during a particularly tough term.

Doing the same with MOOCs is a great idea.  Planning out your time in 12-15 week blocks (a la semesters) will help you figure out when to take longer business core MOOCs and shorter ‘How to Make Marketing Plans’ tutorials so that you are able to learn everything you need within the time frame you want.

Apply these strategies, and you’ll be reading Shakespearean English in no time! Next you can make yourself sound even classier by adding foreign language and culture classes to your Accredible To-Learn List. Happy  Learning!

How to Make MOOCs Count on Your Resume

Resume target

The job market may not be at a point yet where MOOCs are accepted by employers on par with traditional college courses.  Regardless, MOOCs on your resume show that you are willing to take initiative to increase your knowledge base and skills.  Many recruiters see this quality as an opportunity to hire employees who will continue to improve themselves, which will constantly increase the human capital they provide to the company.

It is extremely important that you are showcasing your MOOCs appropriately on your resume, however.  A disorganized list of your classes will look more unprofessional and illegitimate than your resume would be without the MOOCs on it at all.  Instead, try placing them methodically and within categories.

 

Divide and Conquer

Again, your MOOCs will not be seen the same way as a college education by employers, so don’t bother listing them that way.  You want to make sure your online classes are being seen as a positive supplement to your application, and not a glorified accessory.

Instead, MOOCs should be under a separate heading in your resume’s Education section called ‘Continuing Education’.  This simply refers to all of your important efforts to improve yourself as an employee and can include any certificates or diplomas you earned (instead of or after college) along with any MOOCs you have taken.

accredible resume education

 

 

 

 

 

Skills, Not Frills

Categorizing by skills is an easy way to organize your MOOCs effectively.  Not only does it make scanning a resume easier, but it also immediately displays the benefit of taking a certain group of courses:  The development of a specific skill that will be valuable to the company.

These categories also mean that you don’t need a detailed description of each course.  Usually, the course name itself provides a glimpse into the course content.  Listing the skill the course helped you develop is yet another way to state the purpose of the class without a fluffy description.  Cardinal rule: save the details for your interview, keep your resume simple.

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Quality Over Quantity

You don’t need to list every MOOC you have ever signed up for, or even every MOOC you have completed (but never list one that you didn’t complete!).  If you are applying for a marketing position, for example, the hiring manager will probably be less interested in your Intro to Physics class and more in your Creativity & Innovation class.  A list of classes longer than your ‘Experience’ section is unattractive and unnecessary.  Keep it simple, clear, and useful.

 

Many MOOCs are hard work and teach you a lot – there is no reason you shouldn’t receive due credit for them.  They show your versatility, desire to improve, and ability to multi-task and can be a great asset in the job search process.

Bonus Tip:  Make sure you can prove everything on your resume; build a portfolio!  If you have notes, assignments, and projects from your MOOCs saved on your Accredible profile, the only thing you need to prove your involvement in the class is a link!

Accredible Contest Hack #1: How to Create a Winning MOOC Slates

 

On Accredible, you can add Slates to your knowledge profile to showcase your knowledge, skills, or coursework. We’re hosting a contest for winning slates, and because when everyone learns, everyone wins, we’re helping YOU create a winning Slate. The first topic we’ll explore is MOOC slates. Most of MOOCs offer a certificate upon successful completion of the course, but all the knowledge, all of your work is gone or spread out after the class is over. Creation of an Accredible Slate helps you to save this work and show it later to your friends and potential employers.

What to put on a Slate?

First of all, pay attention to syllabuses. In most courses’ information pages the syllabuses are long and obscure. For people viewing your Slate, you don’t want all of this detail. He or she wants concise and specific syllabuses which will cover all the areas of knowledge and all the skills you gained during the course. In one of next hacks, we will explore how to create such a syllabus in more detail.

Secondly, your work from the course should be present: assignments, notes and even screenshots of your grades.

Thirdly, think outside the box. How about:

  • extra work. Decide to dig deeper and write a short research paper on topic X? Awesome! That will enhance your Slate’s credibility and show that you’re a proactive learner.
  • mind maps on notes. Don’t like long written notes but enjoy structured knowledge? Mind maps are one of the best ways to show that you worked with class material and understood it well.
  • forum discussions posts. You were an active student and discussed your ideas with peers? That’s fantastic! Copy all your posts to a document or screenshot them and insert it onto your Slate. This way people can see that you’re a good collaborator and an articulate thinker.

Pro tip:

If you need additional motivation to complete course X, or more organized knowledge and better planning, create a private Slate with all the course and extra work you’re going to do before starting the course . This way you’re killing 3 birds (yes, 3!) with one stone:

  1. You know what to do and when you will do it. Many students drop out of courses due to poor planning.
  2. You’ve already put in some effort on the course by creating a Slate – the more work you put into a particular course, the harder it becomes for you to drop out.
  3. During the course, you will be motivated to work much more since not only are you able to see your Slate after the class is over, but also friends, potential employers and the general public. Thus, you will gain more knowledge and skills during the course.

With each Hack we’ll include an example Slate to help you visualize what we’re talking about. Danny’s Slate for his Coursera Gamification course is a great example. Pay specific attention to his syllabus as an example of providing a great outline whilst being relatively concise: https://www.accredible.com/3 

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We hope this brief blog post on MOOCs Slate will help you to create better Slates. In our next blog post we’ll explore the creation of Slates for the self-paced learning category.

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

0. Contest Announcement

1. MOOC Slates (current post)

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. Overview

If you have any questions, ideas or feedback, feel free to comment or drop an email to hello@accredible.com.

Happy creating!

Accredible’s #AwesomeSlates Contest

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
- Benjamin Franklin

At Accredible, we believe that all kinds of education matter, whether it’s courses in traditional universities, certificates from MOOC classes or even reading books. We want to help you to learn, to show the world what you know. We are pleased to announce our #AwesomeSlates contest where you can show your learning by creating cool Slates, save and organize your knowledge, and even get prizes from us – vouchers for Amazon.

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The best Slate in each of these five categories will each win a $150 prize:

Why give you money for creating awesome Slates?

  • Motivation. We want you to challenge yourself, to explore new boundaries and discover new horizons. We want you to learn.
  • Help you to create your intellectual portfolio. Today employers and colleges want to see your knowledge, skills and talent. Your intellectual portfolio is the first step in standing out and demonstrating what you can do. Be the first, be creative and be credible.
  • Show you’re more than just a grade. We embrace your creativity, talents and aspirations, providing the place for you to show who you are. 

Today, on the 29th April, 2013 we are launching our #AwesomeSlates contest. The rules are simple: you create a Slate and submit it into one of 4 categories. The most creative, inspiring and beautiful slates of their knowledge, skills, or coursework will receive prizes and the chance to be on the first page in the history of digital education. Start building your slate now!

We want you to win! Every week we will post tips on how to create winning Slates, where to find ideas, and how to make your portfolio more effective.

The contest closes on 31st May 31st July (read about the deadline extension here) but remember, the contest isn’t about winning, it’s about your learning. As the talented coach and executive Vince Lombardi once said: “Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is”. Try your best, be yourself and enter the contest. Start building your Slate now!

To submit your Slate and find the rules, go here: https://www.accredible.com/contest

Help about Accredible Slates:
Getting Started with Accredible Slates
What all can be added to a Slate

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

0. Contest Announcement (current post)

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?

If you have any questions, ideas or feedback, feel free to comment or send us a line at hello@accredible.com

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!