What Makes a Good Online Education Course? 3 Instant & Easy Tips from a key stakeholder- A Student.
Imagine a world where all education was free and classes could be attended by students at the convenience of their very homes!
Online education has already made this possible.
MOOCs are the talk of college students around the globe today, keeping education continuous even in the most unpredictable of times. and if you haven’t enrolled yourself in one yet, it is the perfect time to give online education a go.
MOOCs and Online Education: What is a MOOC?
MOOCs or Mass Open Online Courses are online education courses that are made available to a large number of people for free. MOOCs are usually hosted by a college or university and their course material are usually based upon the host university’s syllabus. A MOOC offers free registration and access to online education based course material but may not offer Course Certification unless a fee is paid. By widening the access to knowledge on varies fields of study, MOOCs are a good example of how online education widens the reach and scope of learning, thus making them an essential part of the future of education system.
There are several online education platforms available for students looking to take up MOOCs. EdX is one such platform of online education that offers MOOCs on a diverse range of subjects ranging from Art History to Robotics. It offers free registration and free access to most course material on their MOOCs. But if a student wants their answers during the MOOC to be evaluated by the host university or wants to earn a verified certificate to add on to their college credits, a fee is to be paid.
I recently had the opportunity of attending the MOOC “UN Sustainable Development Goals: an Interdisciplinary Academic Introduction” offered by the world-renowned KU Leuven University, Belgium on online education platform EdX. It was a self-paced course like most MOOCs, which means that students are allowed flexible timings for finishing the course material.
At the end of the 4 weeks during which I completed the course, I found that I had learnt a good deal through its video modules, all while not having to compromise on my college schedule. After a lot of retrospection, here are 3 key points that I think KU Leuven’s online education course did right, and can help MOOCs of all kinds maintain student engagement:
1. Tailoring a syllabus suited for online education platforms:
Host colleges should make sure that the syllabus for the MOOCs should be adapted for online education and internet-based learning.
KU Leuven’s MOOC on UN Sustainable Development Goals did well in this aspect. Their syllabus was grouped into chapters based on similarities between the Sustainable Development Goals being discussed, with videos explaining each in detail. After every couple of videos, there were interactive assignments for students to take part in.
2. Using the online education medium to garner field experts:
One of the important advantages of online education is that it enhances access to knowledge like never before. Because physical presence is no more a mandate for learning, teaching resources around the world may be garnered to teach a class.
The KU Leuven MOOC I attended made maximum use of this benefit of online education. In order to render a practical aspect to the course, experts who engage with the theory being discussed were invited to share their experiences. These were presented as short videos at the end of each chapter. These videos enhanced the value of the online education course immensely because access to this much variety in lectures would be close-to impossible in an on-campus course.
3. Constant Engagement is key to the success of Online Education Sources:
MOOCs are a form of online education where dropping out from courses is an option always available, with multiple online alternatives to take its place. This is why students have to be constantly kept involved in the course.
In the KU Leuven MOOC that I took part in, my learning from each video module was constantly put to test with easy-to-complete assignments. There were regular student discussion forums where I could not only post my own answers, but also read fellow-attendees’ answers and comment on them. The addition of a peer-learning forum is a simple, interesting element that can enhance interaction on online education courses where the facilitator fails to.
As a student myself, I have attended multiple online education courses and find that MOOCs are particularly effective because their structures are built upon on-campus courses that all college students are already familiar with. Because of the variety of courses available, host universities have to compete for student enrollment by providing the best learning experiences and rich learning sources. This is what makes MOOCs a reliable online platform while looking for quality education.
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