Live and Learn

MOOC – Have you heard of it?

A recent development in distant education, MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course – a free, large-scale online educational course of study available to anyone. Similar to college courses, but most often without college credit, MOOCs can help individuals prepare for college study, improve their skills and help them make decisions about their careers.

MOOC: Here’s the breakdown

Massive – there is no limit on how many people can sign up, as compared to a traditional college class where only a certain number of students can attend.

Open – the course is free to anyone who wants to participate, providing one has access to the Internet (Online Course).

Want to know more? If so, these two sites will get you started on your own research:
Reflections discusses types of MOOCs and the author’s own participation in them. Watch the video “What is a MOOC?” and notice the emphasis on networking.
EDUCAUSE provides a list of links on the topic.

Now, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Would you like to interact and network with people who share the same interests as you?
2. Do you want to learn about the latest trends and issues in your profession?
3. Has it been more than six months since you performed duties related to your career?
4. Is your education/training connected to the occupation you are seeking?
5. How recent is your education? Did you receive your degree(s) and/or certification(s) within the last five years?

If you answered “Yes” to 1, 2 or 3, and / or answered “No” to 4 or 5, then MOOCs might help.

But how?
Let’s pretend you are an employer comparing two candidates with similar experience, but only one has education relevant to the work history. One resume states the college degree is from 1990, and the other has the following statement:

EDUCATION
Presently studying trends in business (or whatever suitable category) online at Vanderbilt University and Duke University.

Who would you choose to interview?
Let’s say you are working and have expressed an interest in a different job at your company. You’ve shown some aptitude and your manager has entrusted you with some of its responsibilities; or, you are continually looking for creative ways to improve your skills. I think you’re beginning to see the value of MOOCs.

Because I want to improve my writing skills, I’m considering taking a songwriting MOOC. Songwriting? Yes, songwriting – you know, I’m applying the “Wax On, Wax Off” philosophy from Karate Kid 🙂 .

So here’s to life-long learning!

Josie Toth is a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions in the Houston – Galveston area. She conducts job search skills seminars throughout the 13 county Gulf Coast region. After serving in the military, Josie utilized Workforce Solutions’ services. Her desire to help people led to an employment counselor position with Workforce Solutions, which she held for four years, until she found her niche as a Regional Facilitator.



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