May 9, 2017

Simply about MOOCs

While I am a great fan of and use it quite often for my personal and professional development, I decided to explore other MOOCs platforms for this exercise. I searched through my favourites bar and found a link to which is “an online learning platform for higher education and professional development courses provided by experts from all over Europe”. This interactive platform was founded in 2011 by Jonas Liepmann and Hannes Klöpper and “became the first European platform for such MOOCs. Today iversity has over 750,000 registered users and over 1 million course enrolments. iversity is one of only a few platforms globally offering online courses that award ECTS-credit points.”

Since the platform offers professional development courses I picked one that fits my personal and professional interest – “Social innovation”, which is an introduction to the topic. The course is guided by three instructors from different universities and social enterprises. What I personally liked about the course, that it has no deadlines meaning that a person can study at his own pace. The course contains six chapters, which in turn contain videos, different tasks and main quiz “challenge of the week”. In addition to it, under each video there are exercises, references and discussions, where people share their ideas about the topic. I find the navigation of the website (I assume that each course may have similar structure) very convenient and easy to find relevant information. I also liked the idea of presenting additional materials under each chapter.

The course I have chosen is an audit track type and it’s free. However tracks may be upgraded (including payments) by allowing you to obtain statement of participation, which includes name of the participant, the instructor’s name and a description of the course. In order to obtain a certificate participant needs to successfully pass online-proctored exam. The idea is basically the same as on

As I mentioned above, this is not my first experience with MOOCs. As a cheap alternative to classroom instructions, e-learning platforms bring great benefits nowadays. They allow people from all over the world to gain knowledge and skills and to connect with great minds of our society. Who could expect a Harvard professor to give his class for free?  Me – never. Of course, this is just a beginning of a new era of online education blending new technologies and traditional way of teaching. While it may not replace some aspects of traditional education (in-person seminars, written exams, discussion classes, etc.), it gives opportunity to taste the sense of learning and pick up a subject or even discipline, to try it on and decide whether continue or not. In this case you don’t need to pay huge tuition fee. In fact, it will cost you nothing except time spent on it.

In many universities MOOCs are already included into education system presenting blended models, where students watch their lectures at home, giving opportunities for more engaging exercises in the classroom. Such format may foster even better engagement with a subject which in turn may result in better performance. As for the developing countries, MOOCs is a great solution to overcome a challenge of education, allowing people from poor countries not only obtain general knowledge, but also learn some lacking skills as problem solving, communication, team work, etc.


  1. Dear Natalia, I disagree with your conjecture that MOOCs are likely to be capable of helping developing countries to overcome challenges they face in the realm of education. Rather, presumably more striking challenges lie on a way more granular level, i.e. on the level of basic education such as reading, writing, etc. Whether or not one can speak of the challenges on that level as more striking than the one's targetable by MOOCs, basic education matters are certainly to be located upstream from anything that could be conveyed via MOOCs.

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    1. Hey Natalia,

      first of all I really like that you actually used MOOCs before! I believe that a considerable amount of self-motivation is necessary to really make use out of them.
      Since you already used MOOCs, what do you think about their general certification practices? Did you already obtain any MOOC-degrees? Or do you just use them for yourself?

      However, what I also want to stress is that I, just like the commentator before, I very much disagree with your general and seemingly slightly arrogant statements about developing countries.

      Have fun in every MOOC that you will attend in the future! :)

    2. Thanks, Bonsai! Yes, I've got some certificates from Coursera. They are not degrees but just courses.

  3. Dear Valentina and Bonsai,
    Thanks for your comments. I understand your concern with developing countries and agree that, of course, moocs may not solve all problems/ challenges of education there. One paragraph won't be enough to describe all challenges and solutions in these countries ( and that was not my purpose), I just meant that online platforms, when there is internet access, can bring some skills and knowledge from Western world that are hard to gain in poor countries. Valentina, agree with other challenges as writing, reading, etc. moocs require at least some general level of education.

  4. So, how was your learning experience with the course you are describing? Social innovation? And another question: the different instructors: were those experts that would commonly not teach at a university?