Massive Open Online Courses ( Transforming education )

Jayaraman Kiruthi VasanOctober 10, 20124 comments

Emerging trends in online education have opened up unforeseen learning opportunities for aspiring students. Eminent instructors from the best names in the industry such as Stanford, MIT and Harvard provide several courses with video lectures online.

Named MOOCs,  Massive Open Online courses are accelerating the learning process in a radical manner.  Online universities like Coursera, edX, Udacity, Khan Academy and Udemy offer courses which are professionally relevant.

MOOCs are not an alternative to regular campus education, but can be complementary in many ways. MOOCs offer traditional universities a huge opportunity to tap a much larger student base which otherwise would not be possible due to geographical constraints.

MOOCs are “disruptive extensions” of traditional universities, according to Forbes (www.forbes.com)


A few of the key features which make MOOCs special are

l  MOOCs offer distance education by leveraging the power of the internet.

l  MOOCs encourage large scale participation as the students need not be physically present inside a classroom

l  Most MOOCs are free. However for getting a credit, one may have to pay as per the rules of the University, if such a facility is available.

l  Geographical location of the participant does not pose any constraint as long as she is connected to the Net.

l  The course material is always found on the website and can be accessed 24/7

l  The pre-requisites to join a course are very clearly known and the student needs to prepare herself in those skills alone, to take the course.

l  Other web resources including social networks, personal blogs and chatting media can be leveraged to have student interactions apart from the virtual classroom.

l  Online video lectures are very comprehensive while making the learning more interesting.


As a learning medium MOOCs have a lot to offer. Some of the big advantages are

  • You need not quit your full-time job for want of improving your knowledge
  • Selectively you can take courses that may augment your skills
  • As the online experience is improving by the day as technology evolves, studying becomes fun.


Some of the courses that may be useful to the programmers/ engineers/ embedded designers are

  1. Courserawww.coursera.org
    1. Learn to Progarm : The Fundamentals – www.coursera.org/course/programming1
    2. An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python – www.coursera.org/course/interactivepython
    3. Learn to Program : Creating Quality Code - www.coursera.org/course/programming2
    4. Digital Signal Processing - www.coursear.org/course/dsp 
  1. Udacity  - www.udacity.com
    1. Design of Computer Programs – www.udacity.com/overview/Course/cs212/CourseRev/apr2012
    2. Software Debugging (Automating the Boring Tasks) – www.udacity.com/overview/Course/cs259/CourseRev/1
    3. Artificial Intelligence : Programming A Robotic Car – www.udacity.com/overview/Course/cs373/CourseRev/apr2012 
  1. Khan Academywww.khanacademy.org
    1. Introduction to programming and computer science – www.khanacademy.org/#computer-science
    2. Bit-zee Bot – www.khanacademy.org/#bit-zee
    3. Reverse Engineering – www.khanacademy.org/science/projects/reverse-engineering
  1. Udemywww.udemy.com
    1. Learn Python – www.udemy.com/python-for-beginners2

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Comment by cfeltonOctober 10, 2012
You have a typo in a couple of the Coursera links.
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Comment by jkvasanOctober 10, 2012

Thanks. Corrected the same.
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Comment by DeekshaNovember 13, 2012
True,looks like the next big thing!Also there are online course materials on http://nptel.iitm.ac.in/ , an initiative by IITs and IIScs , the bottom of the page shows other Indian online education sites , where this material is hosted. Some of the courses in Computer Engineering discipline on this link are really good and widley recommended over the internet.MIT also has course materials by name of OpenCourseWare http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/ Though these are not essentially the same thing as Coursera and UDacity etc - but those who are in lookout of repository of good online materials/ videos , these links are good enough for them.
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Comment by jkvasanNovember 13, 2012
Thanks for the link. This site seems to be more focussed on engineering. It is more relevant than the courses offered by other such MOOCs.
I would be devoting more time in this site for sure.

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