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Crikey, things are looking up!

Friday, March 21, 2014

On-line course platforms (MOOCs)

Here, as promised, is a series of links to on-line course platforms or MOOCs (Massive open on-line courses). Each has a search capability so that you can find things you like. I am doing a variety of courses for entertainment (I don't watch TV)!

The following group are not for profit and allow free enrollment. (You may need to make a payment for a university or high school equivalency certificate.) Generally each course starts on a particular date and you are encouraged to keep up with the class by viewing the lectures and doing the course work each week.

Future Learn - Mostly British-based universities.

EDX - another group of well-known universities, I have signed up for the "Science of Everyday Thinking" course, a fairly lightweight psychology course. Previously I have completed "Introduction to Biology (The Meaning of Life!)" and "Our Energetic Earth". The latter, from University of Toronto, was interesting but lightweight, with a talking head lecturer plus slides and some recommended texts. The former was the wonderful Generitcs, Biochemistry and Genomics course I mentioned. Live lectures and a gifted lecturer. Fantastic software tools in the homework (as you'd expect from MIT, I suppose).

Khan Academy has mostly pre-university courses, but they seem to be conducted in a very approachable way. Emphasis on mathematics. Self paced. I have viewed a biology and world history course accessed through this portal and it's a lot of fun! Also on YouTube: Crash Course Biology. Videos with a quirky approach that would appeal to teenagers, I think.

Academic Earth have pre-recorded mostly university lectures. I have just started one called Oceanography, which is recorded from the back of a darkened lecture hall with a computer-generated slides projected on a screen. It's just like being there, sometimes out of focus and all :-) I'm glad I didn't pay for that university course, but perhaps it will pick up.

Iversity is a German-based MOOC but they have a number of what appear to be good courses in English. I vill let you know vhat I zink of zem :-) has a set of on-line courses that are contributed by experts and seem to consist mostly of self-paced directed readings of on-line materials with occasional viewing of videos. This is more of a traditional approach to a "correspondence course". It probably works well for people who like reading.

The following is a for-profit company but they allow you to do the courses for free and give you a certificate with an extra payment for "validation" i.e. university-equivalence. So basically the same results as far as the user is concerned.

Coursera - a large set of international universities, pick a filter on the left-hand side. I did two Useful Genetics from University of British Columbia recently which were good. Talking head (smart older woman lecturer with slides) lectures. I am also in the middle of a Roman Architecture course from Yale, which is very good.

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