The excuses—financial limitations, time constraints, convenience, etc. —one can give for not updating and upgrading one’s knowledge and skills are vastly fading off with the emergence of online learning platforms popularly referred to as Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).
The MOOC platforms, though with different course coverage and approaches, are basically online platforms that provide structured and organised courses/classes through filmed lectures, texts, quizzes, forums, etc. for students and professionals from all over the world—wherever there is internet facility.
While some are run by individuals who are experts in their chosen fields, some are run by digital experts in affiliation with recognised universities from different parts of the world.
MOOC makes learning easy and convenient. Some MOOC platforms allow learners to work at their own pace while some have weekly or quarterly schedules within which students are expected to complete their tasks/assignments.
In this piece, I examine top five MOOC platforms where you can register to update and upgrade your skills:
Coursera provides general access to education through partnerships with world-class instructors and universities. It offers various courses such as journalism, computing and programming, project management, web development, social media marketing, creative writing, etc.—any course you can ever think of!
Learners can either opt for a free package or pay some charges to get a certificate after the course duration. Coursera is available on www.coursera.com. Coursera mobile app is also available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
This is also an MOOC in partnership with world-class universities. It was created in 2012 by The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. It has both paid and free courses on various competitive disciplines. Edx is available on www.edx.org and its mobile versions can be downloaded from Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Khan Academy is an online educational institute founded by Salman Khan in 2006. Khan Academy covers arts/humanities, science and engineering, mathematics, economics, etc. It also has a tutorial package for major tests such as SAT, MCAT, GMAT, IIT JEE, etc. Khan Academy is available on www.khanacademy.org. It also has a mobile app on Google Play Store.
Islamic Online University (IOU)
Islamic Online University was founded in 2007 by Dr Bilal Philips as an online educational platform focused on Islamic and Arabic studies. IOU offers diploma, Bachelor, and Postgraduate programmes. IOU is one of the major online platforms where one can study Islamic and Arabic courses intensively. IOU is available on www.islamiconlineuniversity.com. It also has a mobile app which is available on Google Play Store.
This MOOC platform was founded in 2012 by The Open University in Milton Keynes, England. FutureLearn is in partnership with SOAS University of London, University of Bristol, RMIT University, University of Cape Town, and so on. One major interesting thing about FutureLearn is that it offers some courses with free certificates. FutureLearn is available on www.futurelearn.com.
Udacity, founded by Sebastian Thrun, David Stavens, and Mike Sokolsky in 2012, seems to focus more on technology and computer courses. Also, unlike edX, Coursera and other MOOCs, Udacity is not affiliated with any university or educational institution. It generates its course contents independently. Udacity is on www.udacity.com. Its mobile app is also on Google Play Store.
Academic Earth was founded by Richard Ludlow, Chris Bruner, and Liam Pisano in 2009. Academic Earth is also in partnership with UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Michigan, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale. This platform is available on www.academicearth.org.
Linda.com, acquired in 2015 by LinkedIn, is an online education platform that provides video lectures/tutorials on various courses. Lectures are offered using English, German, French, and Spanish. Apart from the website, www.lynda.com, it also has a mobile app available on Google Play Store.