A colleague asked a question… she suggested I share the answer…

So, I have several students taking Coursera courses…. also EdX and Udemy… there are other MOOC providers out there as well.

The model for MOOC’s (massive open online courses) is generally the same regardless of the provider:

1) Some MOOC’s have start dates and end dates, others are self-paced and allow open enrollment.

2) Students create an account (needs an email address), then log on and get to work.

3) Auditing a course is free; most providers allow learners to get a certificate as well for a fee ($49-$129 is the general range). All of my students have been auditing. One who is active on these on his own found a deal… a $100 course he could take for $10, so he gladly gave his mother’s credit card number– they did that at home!

4) The one problem we have encountered is that sometimes (not always), students who are auditing do not get to see the correct answers for quizzes, etc. Currently, I have a student auditing an “Understanding Violence” Coursera MOOC, and she does not get her work graded. I have a colleague who teaches sociology at a community college who is reviewing the quizzes and providing us with what she thinks the correct answers are. She also provides comment on some of the questions, and my student is finding that very helpful.

Basically, these are a good source for students who want to pursue some independent interests. Auditing has me our needs to date… with a little extra work.

Here is a list of “places” where one can find a MOOC or other open courses: