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MOOCs for professional development & more
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11443
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 9:24 am    Post subject: MOOCs for professional development & more Reply with quote

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are free or inexpensive, college-level non-credit courses in a variety of subjects that are open to the public -- to anyone wanting to learn. Many of the courses are standalone, while others are part of a program leading to certified completion from MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, Stanford, etc.

If you're self-motivated and self-directed, MOOCs are an inexpensive good way to gain skills and knowledge in areas that complement your teaching or for fun or personal development. They're also great if you're looking to transition into another career field or acquire skills in a different field. For example, I'm presently completing a seven-month cert program for user experience (UX) research and design, offered through Michigan U., for a total of about $1000 USD. (For clarification, the certificates are not academic qualifications.) There are courses to fit just about any interest.

Major MOOC providers:
*Edited to add a non-institutional course provider:
    lynda.com (a "resource to help educators teach better")
.


Last edited by nomad soul on Fri Jun 23, 2017 3:07 am; edited 1 time in total
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MotherF



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1450
Location: 1748'N 9746'W

PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I became slightly obsessed with MOOCs last year and did about 12. I found the ones on the Coursera platform a bit more rigorous than the FutureLearn ones, but the FutureLearn platform encouraged more interaction as they "forum" was at the bottom of each lesson, where as on future learn it's a different tab and there is no obligation to go over to it. About half of the courses I've done have been language/linguistics related, others have been in unrelated areas.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11443
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Were there any courses that stood out for you as extremely useful? I'm presently working on a specialization on edX. For software applications, so far I've been satisfied with Udemy but have been eyeing the other MOOC options for learning JavaScript.

For those planning to complete a university degree via online learning, MOOCs are a good way to practice those elearning skills prior to taking uni courses. There are quite a few teaching-related courses and specializations available, especially with Coursera.

However, the completion rate for MOOCs is below 10%. Apparently, courses that cost next to nothing don't encourage much of a commitment. Plus, some courses aren't as engaging, which causes learners to lose interest. (There's an interesting Feb 2017 article, "The Flip Side of Abysmal MOOC Completion Rates? Discovering the Most Tenacious Learners," that gives some insight into this subject.) Coursera even changed its pricing to a subscription scheme in order to entice learners who tend to do one course into signing on to complete a specialization.


Last edited by nomad soul on Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
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MotherF



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1450
Location: 1748'N 9746'W

PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I very much enjoyed Working with Translation from Cardiff University on the FutureLearn platform. Obviously whether or not it is useful will depend on whether or not you do translations. I was sort of pushed into translating without any sort of training and this helped a lot.
Corpus Linguistics from Lancaster University also on future learn was also one of the top course I took, but again, this is kind of on the edges of what most TEFL teachers do, but was a lot of new and interesting information for me.
The British Council runs several course on FutureLearn and I did a couple, but they were really nothing new, better for young or untrained teachers or someone just looking to stay fresh.
On Coursera the Miracles of Human Language: An Introduction to Linguistics from Universiteit Leiden was excellent and would be great background for a TEFL teacher or prep for someone thinking of doing an MA. Coursera has several TEFL related course I did Shaping the Way We Teach English which is promoted by the US Embassy English Language Programs. Like the British Council courses it really is something most practicing TEFL teachers should already know.
I saw one on Web 2.0 tools for teachers, and thought I should take that as it's an area I need development in.

EDITED TO ADD:
I have a pair of highly motivated advanced students who are preparing to take the IELTS exam and they have done a couple of the coursed aimed at English learners. They loved them, particularly an IELTS focused course, but they did another one as well. I think having a real life partner in crime dramatically increased their motivation to complete the courses.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
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Location: The real world

PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your input, MotherF.

For those considering MOOCs, non-academic courses and specializations that are relevant to your career should be indicated on your CV/resume under the section heading, Professional Development. However, if you're still teaching ESOL, your qualifying TEFL cert should be listed under Training or better yet, included with your education under Education & Training.
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Volver



Joined: 27 Sep 2013
Posts: 181

PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, nomad soul, for posting this.

V
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Guerciotti



Joined: 13 Feb 2009
Posts: 842
Location: In a sleazy bar killing all the bad guys.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love MOOCs. Just started this year.

Not sure about the specializations, but I will probably complete one or two 'specializations' because the courses are relevant.

Relevant, interesting courses for cheap. I don't care what the completion rate is. I will finish every one I start.

Cool
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Kowloon



Joined: 11 Jan 2016
Posts: 133

PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I worked in e-learning for about as big a provider as there is, 2011-2014 inclusive. Wouldn't bother with moocs personally for anything other than learning new skills and/or knowledge for your day-to-day work. Very unlikely to help you change jobs.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kowloon wrote:
Wouldn't bother with moocs personally for anything other than learning new skills and/or knowledge for your day-to-day work. Very unlikely to help you change jobs.

That's a broad statement that doesn't make sense. If new skills and knowledge aren't likely to boost one's chances for a job change, then what does? Plus, so many adults learn online; it's become quite common.

You might take a look at Here's the Real Scoop on How Online Classes Can Help You Get Hired. The author offers strategies for maximizing an online learning experience. In fact, I'm a big advocate for digital portfolios (ePortfolios), which are great for presenting projects developed as a result of those new skills and knowledge.
.
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Guerciotti



Joined: 13 Feb 2009
Posts: 842
Location: In a sleazy bar killing all the bad guys.

PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't expect a career change from MOOCs, though the data science programs seem effective. I do think they will help when I look for a new school.

I take MOOCs to review the subjects I teach and to watch other teachers, to gain some insight and deeper knowledge, and to expand my knowledge in related areas. I am also using MOOCs to learn a new subject.

I think the article suggests taking relevant MOOCs says something about a job applicant. I agree.

Personally, I don't drink and I'm sick of loitering in bars, and there's nothing much to do here, so thank goodness for MOOCs.
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Kowloon



Joined: 11 Jan 2016
Posts: 133

PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
Kowloon wrote:
Wouldn't bother with moocs personally for anything other than learning new skills and/or knowledge for your day-to-day work. Very unlikely to help you change jobs.

That's a broad statement that doesn't make sense. If new skills and knowledge aren't likely to boost one's chances for a job change, then what does? Plus, so many adults learn online; it's become quite common.

You might take a look at Here's the Real Scoop on How Online Classes Can Help You Get Hired. The author offers strategies for maximizing an online learning experience. In fact, I'm a big advocate for digital portfolios (ePortfolios), which are great for presenting projects developed as a result of those new skills and knowledge.
.


Couldn't be bothered typing a more detailed response. I will clarify.

A lot of people treat MOOCs are a short cut that allows them to 'skip' key qualifications. In other words, having MOOC in XYZ might allow them to get a job in that field instead of getting the gold standard professional qualification, or a Master's degree etc. It's telling that the major companies who specialize in for-profit education aren't losing much sleep about MOOCs.

"Skills" are a difficult thing to demonstrate in a traditional interview. You get the interview because you have the right qualifications for the job, then you get the job because you are good at interviewing. I find the idea that an employer ends up selecting one candidate over another because they have a MOOC a bit far fetched.

There are plenty of professional contrarians on this board, you amongst them, and I don't doubt you will provide some obscure example that it's impossible to verify of someone using a MOOC to become Chancellor of the Exchequer or blah blah.

However, for anyone working in TEFL: forget MOOCs as a way of improving your CV if you don't yet have the legit qualifications and experience required for the better jobs. And if you already have the quals and exp, then a MOOC won't make any difference.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
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Location: The real world

PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kowloon wrote:
A lot of people treat MOOCs are a short cut that allows them to 'skip' key qualifications. In other words, having MOOC in XYZ might allow them to get a job in that field instead of getting the gold standard professional qualification, or a Master's degree etc. It's telling that the major companies who specialize in for-profit education aren't losing much sleep about MOOCs.

Although they're designed mostly by leading universities, MOOCs are not meant to be academic qualifications, nor are the courses and specializations promoted as such. There's no reason to even compare MOOCs to academic certificates and degrees at non-profit and for-profit education providers. They're similar to the professional development and continuing education programs offered at many western universities and colleges, including those institutions that design them.

and wrote:
"Skills" are a difficult thing to demonstrate in a traditional interview. You get the interview because you have the right qualifications for the job, then you get the job because you are good at interviewing. I find the idea that an employer ends up selecting one candidate over another because they have a MOOC a bit far fetched.

I'm not sure what you mean by a "traditional interview," but skills are not difficult to demonstrate. For teaching, it can be a short demo lesson during the interview. Additionally, the STAR interviewing technique (situation, task, action, result) is an example of assessing skills; interviewers ask very direct questions about how the job candidate used a particular skill. For example, describe the process used to develop X or when you had to handle a certain situation. Regardless, employers tend to be more interested that a person has a certain skill and can demonstrate competence in it rather than how they learned it. If folks meet the job requirements, then so be it.

lastly wrote:
However, for anyone working in TEFL: forget MOOCs as a way of improving your CV if you don't yet have the legit qualifications and experience required for the better jobs.

TESOL, whether on home soil or overseas, is such a diverse field -- from teacher trainers to people teaching children to others training oil workers as well as those designing courses and assessments... The profession and those involved in it can't be painted with a broad brush.

You're clearly not a fan of MOOCs or professional development, but others have found them to be valuable and potentially beneficial in terms of career growth. To each their own.
.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15329

PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

About the time I left KFUPM, management attempted to bring in "Professional Development" and tecahers were expected to participate in a series of seminars and other activities. management should know that teachers will resent this sort of thing. It is best to leave it to the teachers themselves to initiate this and to choose what - if anything - they want to focus on.
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Kowloon



Joined: 11 Jan 2016
Posts: 133

PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Nomad Soul.

Of course there is a reason to compare them. Both take time, don't they? The time spent doing a MOOC would be better spent gaining real qualifications.

Also, at the very end, you artlessly try and equate "professional development" with "MOOCs" to make the claim that as I think little of one I must think little of the other. That's not true. You know nothing about what I do to develop professionally. There is more to professional development than sitting at home in front of the computer every night.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11443
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back on topic...

Another site, lynda.com, is a subscription-based platform with nearly 6000 courses in business, technology and creative skills taught by industry experts. It's a non-institutional alternative to the university-created MOOCs and has a subscriber base that includes businesses, schools, universities, and individuals.

Lynda.com is similar to MOOCs in some of the types of courses it offers; however, founder Lynda Weinman promotes the service as a "resource to help educators teach better" and even includes an Education + Elearning Training and Tutorials category.

If you're a teacher or trainer and want to learn, for example, Camtasia and about video editing in order to create instructional videos for your class, you have the option of taking the courses via lynda.com or with one or more MOOC providers. Or you want to boost/update your business skills and knowledge as a Business English instructor. Or you want to expand your online teaching skills and tools or pursue an elearning specialization.
.
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