In the MOOC: Changing the way Universities do Business

MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses) have the potential to alter the education delivery system.  These open-learning platforms are rapidly changing the higher education landscape, especially with the support and growing participation from academic institutions. The courses offered through MOOCs are free and available to anyone with an Internet connection. The University of Pennsylvania is currently listing 20 courses on the Coursera platform. These include business related courses like Principles of Microeconomics, as well as courses in design, literature, and healthcare, to name a few.

Three open learning platforms known for their high-quality content are:

coursera-logo-500x300Coursera describes itself as a “social entrepreneurship” company and is currently partnering with 62 universities to provide free, online college-level courses. Their vision is to make education more accessible beyond the traditional classroom. Coursera offers an extensive course catalog that is continually growing. Courses are grouped into categories like Business & Management, Chemistry, Law, and Social Sciences. Course offerings in five different languages are also represented. Take a look here to see if your favorite Penn professors are offering any upcoming courses.

MIT OpenCourseWare lists course materials from 2,150 MIT classes and is touting 125 million visitors so far. This open learning platform differs from Coursera because the content is provided exclusively by MIT, rather than a consortium of universities. Course materials from almost every MIT course are available for free on the site for any person to access. Each course includes all of the materials used in a typical class. MIT OCWEverything from the syllabus, lectures, recitation videos, exams and solutions are included in the virtual course pack. The structure allows a person to go at his or her own pace, which makes this a good learning platform for self-study. While many of the courses do focus on the hard sciences, courses are available in business, art, and medicine, too.

edX is the result of a partnership between Harvard University and MIT. The platform and mission are similar to Coursera, but currently the offerings are fewer. Right now, there are 20+ online courses Edxoffered from HarvardX, MITX, and BerkeleyX, but more universities are slotted to join in the future. The online classroom includes self-paced learning, online discussion groups, wiki-based collaborative learning, assessment of learning, and other interactive learning tools; all of which are freely available. edX’s main purpose is to increase teaching and learning. They do this through providing freely available courses, but also through using the platform to study how students learn in an online environment.

lynda-logoAlthough not an MOOC, is an excellent online learning platform. Even though it is a subscription service, it is available for free to current Pennkey holders through the Penn Libraries. Click here to find out how you can access at the Penn Libraries. provides access to 1,500+ high-quality video tutorials that cover software programs, creative arts, and business.  This is a great place to learn how to use the Adobe Creative Suite (which is available on most of the computers in the Van Pelt Library). Other topics include CSS, social media, Excel, iOS, and many more.

If you are interested in reading more about MOOCs, take a look at The Pennsylvania Gazette’s article, MOOC U., and a recent Penn News article.

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