Tool of the week: Coursera free online learning could get you a job at Twitter

Coursera

Tool of the week: Coursera free online learning could get you a job at Twitter

While on the University of Toronto campus recently, a newly advertised course caught my eye. The class in Aboriginal Worldviews and Education started this week.  It was also mentioned in the Toronto Star some time ago because of its delivery through Coursera – a massive open online course (MOOC) platform.

Coursera (@Coursera) is one of a few MOOCs (also edX, Udacity, among others) changing the post-secondary learning environment by offering free courses through post-secondary institutions around the world – including a few universities in Canada.

Coursera was #40 on Fast Company’s 50 most innovative companies in 2013, with a reported 2 million users (now up to 2.8 million). With the launch of their career services section in December – matching students and employers – they’ve even secured Facebook and Twitter as recruiters.

So if you’re looking to upgrade your skills, here are ten upcoming classes to consider:

  1. Internet History, Technology, and Security (University of Michigan) Starts March 1
  2. Social Network Analysis (University of Michigan) Starts March 1
  3. Foundations of Business Strategy (University of Virginia) Starts March 4
  4. Leading Strategic Innovation in Organizations (Vanderbuilt University) Starts March 5
  5. Introduction to Sustainability (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) Starts March 11
  6. Web Intelligence and Big Data (Indian Institute of Technology Delhi) Starts March 25
  7. Learn to Program: Crafting Quality Code (University of Toronto) Starts March 25
  8. Passion Driven Statistics (Wesleyan University) Starts March 25
  9. Surviving Disruptive Technologies (University of Maryland) Starts March 25
  10. Gamification (University of Pennsylvania) Starts April 1

Future plans for MOOCs even include earning credit in some courses.

The New York Times reported recently however that average dropout rates for MOOCs exceeds 90 per cent.

Still, with 2.8 million users that will mean 280,000 student completions – much larger than most institutional post-secondary student populations.

Cost

  • Free

What I like

  • Easy access to complete courses in an asynchronous manner (using video lectures and online discussion forums).
  • Scheduled offerings give individuals extra motivation to complete courses because of the deadlines – unlike self-paced learning environments.
  • While I just started my class, the online platform so far has been great in providing a wealth of other free online resources. (Kudos to the instructor.)

What I don’t like

  • There is no RSS feed of new course content. It would be great to watch for new course offerings.
  • Search for courses is limited to course name, category or university. It would be great to have a bit of a richer search through topics covered in the curriculum as well.
Diane Begin

Diane Begin Bio:

Diane Bégin, MA, APR is a Senior Consultant at Thornley Fallis. @dibegin