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Earn your stripes from the back porch

The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) phenomenon continues to buzz in and around higher ed. MOOCs may seem heaven-sent for folks interested in DIY learning: by simply harnessing one’s internet connection (combined with a strong dose of motivation) one may enjoy taking college-level courses from various prestigious institutions for FREE. What’s not to love?, you may ask.

Turns out there’s a whole lot of talking about, and various degrees of love for, MOOCs: plenty of skepticism and forecasting (what does this mean for the future of education? Online education?) together with a general welcoming sentiment for what the courses are trying to do (expand knowledge and world-class teaching; make these more accessible to whomever is interested). If after browsing the news you’re still a bit confused over what, exactly, a MOOC is, though, you may find this website particularly helpful: Degree of Freedom, a first-person account of the MOOC experience. Its author, Mr. Jonathan Haber, offers thoughts on his attempt to, in his words,

“learn the equivalent of what I’d get from a liberal arts Bachelors Degree entirely through free, online resources (with a focus on the Massive Open Online Classes, or MOOCs that have been in the news lately).”

The catch: his timeline is one year (he’s taken a year off from work to do this).  Wow!  It’s an intriguing quest and a website well worth visiting.

I particularly enjoyed this post, which touches on who, seemingly, is best cut out for MOOC learning, as well as on the use of MOOCs:

http://degreeoffreedom.org/what-are-moocs-for/

The Chronicle of Higher Education wrote about Mr. Haber and his blog in this article. We’ll be interested to keep watching!

Image via mrg.bz / jade

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