Getting hooked on MOOC


AS Typhoon Ruby was exiting the Philippines on December 9, The Manila Times College (TMTC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the US Embassy in Manila primarily for the integration of online courses in our journalism curriculum.

These online courses are offered by some of the world’s most famous universities and fall under a program called MOOC, the acronym for Massive Open Online Course.

MOOCs are open to everyone who wants to enroll. It is massive because a course has as many as 1,000 to 100,000 students at one time.

Among the best known MOOC platforms are Coursera, Udacity, edX, and Open2Study.

MOOC has gotten me hooked over the last few months. So far, I have finished three courses: College Writing 2.1x and Psychology of Criminal Justice with edX, and Writing for the Web with Open2Study. I am into the last few weeks of two more courses with Open2Study: Learning Principles for Adult Learners, and Becoming a Confident Trainer.

I have enrolled for Copyright x offered by Harvard, and College Writing 2.2x with the UC Berkeley, starting in January and February, respectively.

I have received an Honor Code certificate from the University of California Berkeley for completing and passing the five-week College Writing 2.1x, and from the University of Queensland for the Writing for the Web. I just completed the Psychology of Criminal Justice with the University of Queensland in Australia and expecting the certificate soon. I took these courses with thousands of others from various countries across the globe.

To me, it was like a ray of sunshine after a storm. I was getting bored with my kind of work when MOOC came into my sphere of awareness.

The best thing about these MOOCs is that it is free. If you want a Verified Certificate with your photograph appearing in the certificate, then you have to shell out a “donation” of $50 dollars or more, depending on your generosity or capacity to pay.

And all you have to invest in is time, which is just one to two hours a week for the duration of the course, which ranges from four to 12 weeks. Because the courses are online, you have to have a computer with an Internet connection capable of downloading video lectures.

Just go to a MOOC site, register, choose your preferred course and enroll. The sites are user-friendly. You don’t have to be a techie to get around the pages for as long as you know how to click the buttons.

With MOOC, you can study just about anything, anytime, anywhere.

The courses vary from learning Mandarin to business and management, to computer science, engineering, economics and finance, law, statistics and data analysis, social sciences, basic English grammar, arts and literature, teaching skills, and many more.

The classes are taught by professors from prestigious universities like Harvard, Yale, Wharton, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a lot more.

You get to interact with enrollees from various races and age range on diverse topics. There are discussion groups and critiquing of one another’s work or views for a chance to learn from and share something with other enrollees.

Course contents are a mix of traditional class materials like books, videos, multiple choices, and the like.

For this new “addiction” for more learning on fields related to journalism, I thank Ms. Yoly de Guzman of the US Embassy PAS for introducing MOOC to me, and I hope that with the MOU, we can get our students hooked, too.

Before we came up with the MOU, Yoly and I checked out the courses to make sure that we know what we want the students to get into. In one of our meetings, Kurt Hoyer, the embassy’s press attache and spokesman, said that he had also enrolled.

Well, my very techie boss, Dr. Isagani Cruz, had long mentioned these MOOCs in one of our faculty meetings but it was only recently that I found time to check this out, and, as I said, it got me hooked right away. I initially thought I would not have time for it, but this is a chance to prove to myself that I am capable of managing my time.

I am learning from the MOOCs and perhaps it would be best to share this opportunity with others, such as our students at TMTC.

We have an old saying that the youth is the hope of the fatherland. In the US, somebody said that MOOC is the future of education. Perhaps, getting our youth into MOOC would help mold better educated and more responsible leaders, not just in the field of journalism but in other areas as well.

The students can proudly include in their resume the MOOC certificates they could get when they finish and pass a course.

To motivate the students to complete and pass the course, we would be holding facilitation sessions with complementary lectures and exercises to make sure that the students digest and absorb the lessons.

In a way, we will blend online teaching with the traditional classroom activities for more effective learning.

We want the youth to get hooked with MOOC. Learning is an unending process. Regardless of our age, we should strive to learn about anything, anytime, anywhere.

MOOC is a learning tool that may be worth harnessing.

Come on, let’s get hooked with and on MOOC.


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