The Power of MOOC’s

 

In the past few weeks I had the opportunity to speak with a group of parents about where our young people are heading. In the session we spoke briefly about MOOC’s or Massive Open Online Courses.

If you haven’t ever heard of them before , they are university level courses offered by the world’s leading learning institutions, like Stanford, Harvard, and MIT, and the world’s top professors in each area.  One of the originators, Coursera, was developed to answer the call of watching young people worldwide who did not have equal access to knowledge and what would happen if they did?

http://www.ted.com/talks/daphne_koller_what_we_re_learning_from_online_education

For myself, MOOC’s don’t represent a scary and uncertain future but more importantly an outstanding door opening for everyone to build on their strengths.

Imagine if you always wondered what it would be like to take courses in astro physics, or social entrepreneurship in South Asian countries?  Now you can take these classes for little or no money and not only explore areas you think you might like or ones you love, but open paths that you never would have before.

Many post secondary institutions scoffed at these courses originally and now are panicked by them, but for me I believe it’s the beginning of creating a balance in the distribution of information and more importantly, not only customizing our education but bringing back a new level of curiosity we so desperately need in young people today.

Imagine that you are interested in becoming a fashion designer who creates socially responsible clothing, but with a high tech impact, this is a big area now, you know you need to learn to code along side your typical classes, and you also want to understand social entrepreneurship in order to really succeed.  Now you can take the extra classes you need to hone your area of expertise and love, without having to be excepted by a certain university or paying to take part in their whole set of courses.

You have just begun to add layers that make you uniquely qualified to lead in this area.  Add your real life experience and you have a personal brand and career path untouchable as a start. You work on something that matters to you and evolve to where you really want to be.

After having taken a class from Stanford’s Venture program myself on a Crash Course in Creativity, I had the opportunity to work with 30,000 other people from around the world and be taught by Tina Seelig, one of  my role models and top professionals in innovation and creativity. How much better could it get than that.  Below are a list of some of the outstanding MOOC’s currently offering courses.

www.coursera.org, www.skillshare.com, www.udacity.com, www.udemy.com, www.edx.com

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