by Advance Humanity Fellow Serenity Bolt
Online learning is taking the world by storm. Colleges and universities are incorporating e-learning modules into traditional coursework, while others are offering classes completely online. It is now possible to learn almost anything online, from microbiology to modern poetry.
Huge e-learning classes can be accessed via platforms like Coursera and MOOCs which is short for Massive Online Open Classes. Additionally, Ivy League universities like Yale and Stanford have made their classes available to watch—although, unlike MOOC courses, you can’t receive feedback from the professor.
How Does it Work?
There are many types of online learning. Some smaller schools offer courses online. Many people learn languages using e-learning platforms. Still others learn technical skills like computer programming on sites like Codecademy.
By far, MOOCs are the most fascinating development in the world of e-learning. Unlike traditional universities, MOOCs are completely free and, as a result, mind-bogglingly huge. Just like normal classes, MOOCs have assignments and homework, but don't expect feedback from the professor. Don’t feel bad—the other 40,000 students aren’t getting personal attention, either.
According to the 2012 New York Times article The Year of the MOOC, “The evolving form knits together education, entertainment (think gaming) and social networking. Unlike its antecedent, open courseware — usually written materials or videotapes of lectures that make you feel as if you’re spying on a class from the back of the room — the MOOC is a full course made with you in mind.”
You can find a list of MOOC courses here.