I am a recovering procrastinator striving to become the best that I can be. I conquer my procrastinating tendencies by challenging myself in all aspects of my life. Whether it is improving my diet, my sewing techniques, my blog, or my education—if it means accepting and meeting a challenge, I’m all in!
MOOCs offer stay at home moms like me an opportunity to conveniently learn from home without putting unwanted stress on our family’s time and pocketbook. I get to challenge myself with new skills and ideas by participating with like-minded individuals in group discussions and collaborative projects. The feeling of accomplishment I get when I meet an educational goal is incredible.
One of the major misconceptions about MOOCs is that they are self-paced and relatively easy. That’s not always the case. Many people drop out of MOOCs when they discover how much time and effort they must put into course participation. Don’t let that aspect stop you from trying to improve yourself! I have some great tips to help you organize your time and effort so you can get the most out of a MOOC.
1. Know what you’re getting yourself into. Do the research. Read some MOOC forums. Reach out to MOOC participants.
2. Pick the right MOOC. If you would like to learn about web design, but can only find courses in web marketing, don’t settle. The perfect course is out there or just waiting for someone like you to generate interest in it.
3. Understand that MOOCs are often non-conventional in format. Unlike paid, accredited online college courses where you buy a textbook, do assignments, and take a test, MOOCs are a totally different animal. A MOOC is an event, a learning experience. Instructors and participants often determine the content, context, and dates of the course.
4. Jump right in! Join in on the discussions. Ask questions. Share your research. Comment on blog posts. Lurking around, only reading the course content will not give you the full MOOC experience.
5. Delegate your time wisely. Depending on the course, I would recommend dedicating 2 hours a day to your MOOC. One hour in the morning could be used for research, visiting suggested sites, and writing down discussion topics. One hour in the evening could be used to connect and share with your classmates and instructors through various social media outlets.
6. Set mini goals. Break down your coursework into several mini goals or benchmarks. It will put your goal into perspective so you won’t become overwhelmed. Reward yourself upon meeting each goal. Simple things like ordering your favorite take-out for dinner, or getting a pedicure, can help you breeze through a course.
[Check out the 12 core classes offered by Kaplan University.]
Online learning doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money or wasting time on classes that have little to do with your course of study. MOOCs allow you to tailor your course content and drive it in the direction most pertinent to your educational needs without spending anything but a bit of time and effort. MOOCs aren’t for everyone, but if you’re hungry for knowledge like me, you’ll find the MOOC experience very rewarding.