MOOCs and Online Learning

What is a MOOC?

If you are anything like me, then you were wondering the same thing before you opened this article. MOOC is an acronym for Massive Open Online Course. This is obviously a far different cry from the traditional model of higher education that our parents knew. It is a course that is taught entirely online for a much cheaper price and can be taught to a large number of students. To get a more in-depth look at MOOCs and their pros and cons, check out this article.

While the effectiveness of these MOOCs has been questioned, there is no doubt that they are becoming more of an option at institutions of higher education. I believe that the effectiveness of a MOOC is dependent upon the layout of the course and the course itself.

CA 260 as a MOOC

The course that I am writing this blog post for (CA 260) is known as a blended course. This means that it meets once a week for one hour and fifteen minutes and the other coursework is to be done online. Basically, it is designed to be 50% online and 50% in class.

While CA 260 could function effectively as a MOOC, I feel that is best suited as a blended course. A lot of the material in this course are concepts that we have never seen before (i.e. HTML, CSS, JavaScript coding, etc.). Therefore, having that face-to-face meeting with a professor helps with the understanding of these concepts. This allows us to work in a hands-on fashion while getting instruction simultaneously from our professor.

The best blended course that I have taken was a Statistics I course. All of the homework was to be completed online, while the final exam and tests were in class. Attendance was not mandatory but the teacher used the once a week class time to answer any questions that you might have with difficult concepts or homework problems.

Helpful Resources

The top 3 resources for learning about web design and providing training in that aspect are W3Schools, Google Code University, and Codecademy.

W3Schools is a fairly straightforward site that may seem boring at first. However, it provides beginners with lessons starting at the early stages of web design. The interactive lessons then progress at a steady rate to help the user learn effectively.

Google Code University is best at their video tutorial series that look at coding through HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The videos are created by Google’s own web developers. Who else better to learn from?

The last helpful resource is Codecademy. It is self-described as the ‘easiest way to learn how to code’. It is a free website that also has a strong social network to allow users to interact with each other and learn from each other.

To look more in-depth at these sites or find other helpful web design training resources, go this article on Creative Bloq.


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