From formal degrees to free online courses, students from around the globe can sit in the comfort of their own homes and access the latest education from some of the best schools in the world. Advances in course delivery methods and the continuing roll out of fast internet access means that getting the right education is more cost effective and flexible than at any time in the past.
MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course and they really are massive with some courses attracting tens of thousands of students each year.
Currently, there are around 4,200 MOOCs to choose from, and over 500 universities and colleges offering these free courses. While studying a MOOC is usually free, providers of some courses do charge a fee for a valid completion certificate. Some others charge for the entire course and give students the opportunity to earn alternative credentials like Nanodegrees and Specializations.
In the eight years that MOOCs have been available this method of education has seen enormous growth. In 2011, the year MOOCs finally hit the mainstream, student numbers sat at around 160,000; fast forward to the 2015 academic year, which saw 35 million students enroll in courses, up from an estimated 16-18 million a year earlier.
Campus enrollments have fallen for several consecutive years, but the online degree programs offered by colleges and universities have continued to see growth. Accredited schools have developed robust and affordable degree courses, like the online MSA program, which is particularly popular with mature students who need to fit a degree around their work and family responsibilities.
Schools offer associate, bachelors, and master’s degrees with students able to obtain a degree in as little as two years of part-time study.
Advanced courses include online masters in accounting, business administration, computer science, healthcare management, sports management and leisure, project management, web design and many more.
Online degrees also give overseas students the chance to obtain a degree from a prestigious school without the need to cover the cost of accommodation while they study.
Specialist Courses in Anything and Everything
Course creation and delivery platforms are big business these days and offering courses has become a lucrative venture for those with some in-depth knowledge to share. There are even courses in how to create and deliver courses!
Entrepreneurs of all stripes have already set up programs that teach their methods and processes and these courses sit alongside offerings from designers, lifestyle coaches, white-hat hackers, musicians, writers, fitness coaches and more. If you can think of something that you want to learn, chances are good that there’s a course with your name on it.
Popular platforms like Udemy work on a revenue share model with course creators, while Teachable charges a flat monthly rate enabling course developers to sell as many courses to as many students as they like, with no other fees or commissions.
Online education of all kinds is hugely popular, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Whether it’s serious students studying for formal degrees, hopeful entrepreneurs keen to make a success of their business, or casual learners trying out new things and testing the waters before they commit to formal study, the web has created fantastic opportunities for learners and is quickly changing the face of modern further education.