Should You Do A MOOC?

MOOCs aren't for everyone. But they should be.

We all have our own unique and different ways of learning, be it learning by doing, engaging in discussions or reading a book. It also varies depending on what you're trying to learn and the outcomes you're hoping from it. But if you are considering taking up a MOOC, I hope my learnings so far from mentoring in a MOOC will help you make a decision. 

Is this for me?

There were a few things that became obvious rather quickly, something I feel that you would lack in formal education; perspective. If a course/module isn't suited to your needs you discover it very early on, its not a conscious decision but because you need to proactively play a part within the MOOC if you simply aren't active enough you automatically realise that it's not your passion. 

This realisation will probably save you a lot of time and money, two very important resources treasured in our modern times. 

Where is the time?

This could go either ways, you're struggling to make time or are wondering if you'll be better able to tackle this topic under 24/7 culture of the Internet that we've gotten used to. The truth is, a MOOC is what you make it to be. At the same time, no one has 24/7 of their time available to dedicate to you. 

If you're a busy bee, MOOCs are probably the easiest way to critically reflect upon a discipline as it allows you to do it on your own time and you get back as much as you give. And if you're the kind who wants that constant stream of knowledge immersion you'll always be able to find at least one or another person who's online at the same time as you. However, if you're hoping to be in touch with your tutor 24/7 or be told what is the right answer to something a MOOC probably isn't for you. Once a MOOC goes live and is populated much of its success depends upon the ones taking the course, engaging in conversations and pushing each other to expand on their critical skills. 

What Should I Study?

Now that's a question worth exploring for sometime before you commit to a MOOC; whether you're looking to gain deeper understanding in a field you already know or want to step into a whole new discipline. This goes back to my first point, you will only ever complete a MOOC if you're genuinely passionate about the subject as no one is forcing you to sit in a classroom and listen to a tutor so make your choice based on what your interests are. 

This is why I think MOOCs aren't for everyone because many of you might feel there are so many things you need to learn for a number of social/professional reasons such as career development but perhaps aren't inherently passionate about. If that is the case, it makes you reflect upon where you are in life and if you're doing what you really want to be doing. MOOCs definitely aren't for everyone but they should be because we should all be passionately engaged in what we're doing and that's the fundamental educational shift that MOOCs bring about.