Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have been booming for quite some time now, with hundreds of thousands of people from all around the world enrolling in courses offered on the web by real professors and real institutions. Though these courses don’t offer anything in terms of credit, many of them are free to enroll and allow exposure to subjects not available for most people. Today, I’ll be focusing on two providers, edX and Coursera.
So far, I’ve taken two courses on edX and four on Coursera, mostly because the latter has a much larger list of courses at the moment. edX is a new platform that launched in May 2012 but has education heavyweights behind it in MIT and Harvard, but they have since expanded to courseware from 28 schools from around the world. Coursera is thus far a much larger platform, developed by Stanford professors and with a much larger list of partners.
The problem I had with the edX courses was in the framework, at least for the first course I tried. While Coursera is very simple to navigate from top-to-bottom, edX has chosen to try and go for a streamlined, elegant look that I don’t think helps the educational experience. The courseware ends up being very funky, especially the discussion forums. The first course was graded based on mini-quizzes that followed each lecture, and frequently the questions weren’t tied very well to the lectures.
Overall, I’d give the upper hand to Coursera at this point, but it will be interesting to see how edX grows over the next couple of years.
- MOOCs – the way to learn anything from anywhere? (teikokublog.com)
- How to pick the best MOOCs: 6 tips from a Coursera junkie (puretruculence.wordpress.com)
- Coursera Hits 4 Million Students – And Triples Its Funding (forbes.com)
- In Shadow Of MOOCs, Open Education Makes Progress (InformationWeek) (mitopencourseware.wordpress.com)