This post is also available in: Spanish
Two weeks ago I enrolled in a course named “climate change in four dimensions”. I am receiving it from University of California – San Diego.
You may be asking yourself how am I able to receive a course from an university placed thousands of kilometers away from my usual location and make it compatible with my professional activity, personal and leisure life.
The answer is found in a relatively new initiative for education and knowledge called MOOC (Massive Open Online Course).
Under this acronym are included a series of Internet sites offering multiple online courses of diverse areas from universities from all around the world. The main MOOC sites are eDX, Coursera, Udacity or, in Spanish Miríada X.
My experience after two weeks of classes
The name “course” falls short. Very short when the offered in MOOC platforms is compared to what has sometimes been considered a “course” in the traditional ways.
In practice, what you get in your computer are videos with the same clases given in universities from all around the world which, in certain cases, may be authentic classes by the most renowned professors in specific areas. That is, you can be in front of excellent master classes. You can not interact with the professor neither your classmates, which is a relative limitation.
To be able to see thinks like this is just magic:
In my case, throughout the Coursera site I get classes by professors from the University of California San Diego who are at the same time first level scientists from, for example, Mauna Loa Observatory where the world CO2´s level of reference is measured. That is, an inconceivable privilege untill recent times.
At the same time, lots of bibliographic references and series of activities and tests form each course´s program and bring the opportunity to get into the topic up to a specialisation level that you can decide. All the course is free.
If you take the classes, complete the requested activities and pass the established tests, you can pay to get official credits or certificates issued by the corresponding university.
It must be said that the minimum level of demand to pass the courses and get official credits or certificates is, in general, less demanding than the requirements along other university studies I did in traditional methods. But, as I say, this is a minimum and you can go as far as you want in a topic. This is acceptable for the universities and also for me.
In fact, such is my level of satisfaction that I am willing to pay for the official recognition (four credits of the UC San Diego) of my course “climate change in four dimensions”. Decidedly, It deserves to be included in my CV.
This education method is just beginning but, if it establishes and continues improving as it seems, we are in front of one of the most exciting and outstanding projects in latest times: shared knowledge for any person in the world. A new and wonderful dimension of knowledge and learning.