Why MOOCs are awesome!

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I am a busy girl by default; the kind of person that puts as many things as possible into one single hour, day, week, month and year. So, at this moment, I am not only a post-grad student at the University of Southampton, but also a hockey goalie, a digital champion, a course representative and a social media moderator for my hockeyclub, while blogging, trying to publish two articles, having a boyfriend and a social life. As I said: I am busy. But no matter how busy I am, I always want to continue growing and learning. No change, no progress!

That’s why MOOCs are, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest things existing in current times. They give me the opportunity to learn things I find interesting in my own time, in my own schedule and (sometimes!) at my own pace. At this moment I have completed and got a certificate for four MOOCs at the Coursera-platform: Gamification, Microeconomics for Managers and Foundations of Teaching for learning module 1 and 2. But, for me, the certificates are not the most important. I have contributed into more than 10 courses that I did not finish ‘in time’, but have completed in my own time. Why did I contribute while I knew that I wouldn’t get a certificate? Because I just love to learn. And for me, learning and enjoying myself is more important than getting the certificate at the end. I see the certificate only as a bonus!

When I heard that the University of Southampton began its own MOOC in WebScience I knew that I needed to participate. Not only do I love the Internet and the power of Social Networks, but I also knew that I did not really understand well how they worked. And next to that I thought that it would be very cool to see what my own university was doing in the world of MOOCs. And, so far, the MOOC has not disappointed! The content of the videos is really interesting and dosed in the right way. I have participated in MOOCs where videos were either too short to have decent content (3/4 minutes) or too long to be entertaining (30-35 minutes). The duration of these videos (15 minutes), for me, was perfect. Everyone has half an hour a day to watch a video that interests them! I always found the time to watch one or two a day, to keep me going. Regrettably I have not found the time yet to read the accompanying articles provided each week. Although I do think that providing the articles is a big plus, and something I had been missing in some of my Coursera MOOCs. The cool thing about MOOCs though, is that I just saved all the articles on my computer to read when I have a bit more time (probably after January exams).

For future MOOCs, I think, it would be awesome if more peer reviewed assignments would be added. The content is now still a bit static, while putting them into practice in an essay would give the opportunity to make the content your own. The platform of FutureLearn is also not quite ready yet for full-on interaction. Conversations cannot be grouped, it’s hard to find back conversations you were contributing in and you don’t know if someone has responded to your messages. That’s the learning curve of FutureLearn I suppose and I can’t wait to see how this will develop in the future and make the MOOCs even more energizing.

So, thanks University of Southampton, for delivering this MOOC. I really enjoy watching all the videos and absorbing all of their content in my own time. Thanks to you, and the other MOOCs, I will make sure that my knowledge is never static but in a constant flux; always looking to learn and to grow.

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