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How to choose the course for you

Created on Fri, 20/06/2014 - 16:56 by Polly Foster 

There is no doubt that Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, are really shaking up the education industry - with millions of people taking the opportunity to study for free from anywhere in the world.

Choosing the right course can be daunting.

Image via Flickr

The potential of MOOCs is mind-blowing, but the choice available can be a little intimidating to those new to this way of learning, or even to the seasoned MOOC-pro, looking for their next course.

With everything from an Astronomy course to a World Music course on offer through Open2Study how on earth can anyone choose which course (or courses) to take? Before you get carried away and sign up to everything, here are a few tips to help you make your decision.

What are your goals?

With other MOOC providers you might look at the length of the course, or the kinds of assessment methods used, to help you decide which one to take. On Open2Study however, all courses follow a similar pattern - they last four weeks and are assessed by multiple choice quizzes. So this isn’t really a deciding factor when choosing between Open2Study courses.


It’s best to think about your reasons for choosing to study in the first place. Are you trying to learn something to develop your career, or to help you to get your dream job? Do you want to build on your existing qualifications, or learn something new just for fun? The answer to this question will help you to decide which course is right for you.


If you are looking to boost your employability or get ahead in your career, then it makes sense to take a course that is related to your chosen career path. This will be personal to you, depending on what your job involves and what skills and knowledge you want to gain. For instance, if you were a Manager in the leisure industry you might want to take ‘Sports and Recreation Management’, whereas ‘Writing for the Web’ could be more relevant to someone in a marketing or communications role.

It might be that you find there are no Open2Study courses that fit exactly with your job. If this is the case then you could try going for a course that teaches transferrable skills. This just means that the skills you will gain can be applied to any industry or role, or even to your personal life. Examples include leadership, negotiation and teamwork - these are useful for everyone no matter their position, and there are Open2Study MOOCs available focusing on these topics.

Is a self-paced course right for you?

Unlike many MOOC providers, Open2Study offers some self-paced courses. This means that instead of studying at the same pace as everyone else who is taking the course and completing one assessment a week, you can progress through your MOOC at your own pace.


This could be a good option for you if you want or need to speed through the material quicker than the four weeks required by other courses. The only problem is that all of your fellow students will be at different stages of the course at any one time. This might make you feel more isolated, since it might be more difficult to use the forums to connect with people who are studying the same module as you. Consequently, you could miss out on a lot of the community spirit and support that learners can gain from the forums.


There is also the temptation to plough through the material too quickly, complete the course and then immediately forget everything you’ve learned. It takes a lot of self-discipline to not only study online but also to make sure you are getting the most out of what you’re doing, based on your needs and expectations of the course. If you fear you might get carried away, complete the course in one night and not remember any of it, then perhaps a self-paced course is not your best option.

Try two (or three!) at a time

If you really can’t decide on one course, then you shouldn’t have a problem taking two or even three at a time. Again, the important thing to consider is whether you can balance your time to not only complete the course but also get the most out of it and remember something about it once you’ve finished. There is no point taking a course just to say that you’ve taken it, and then realise that you can’t remember a thing you’ve learned.


Beware of getting over excited and taking all the courses you like right away. One of the great things about Open2Study is that courses run every five weeks, so there is no need to feel rushed or pressured now - your favourite courses aren’t going anywhere!


How did you choose which courses to study? Let me know in the comments!

You can also check out the full list of free courses available here.

Polly Foster is a guest blogger with Open2Study


This post comes to you from our guest blogger, Polly Foster.

A recent graduate, Polly is currently working at the University of Bath helping students develop entrepreneurial skills. Studying digital marketing part-time and with a passion for education, careers and all things creative, she would love to make a living as a freelance writer. Get in touch at pollyfoster91@gmail.com.

Would you like to blog for us? Get in touch using the Feedback tab at the bottom right of this website, with your ideas for a blog post (or two) and some links to samples of your writing.


I picked my particular courses as I could see a direct relationship to what I was pondering about though I could see potential and relationships of value in many various courses that I could do in the probable future

An online course is a great way to find out if you are actually interested in a particular subject.

I would like to discuss this with you. When retired one does not have a goal. Rather heaps of varied interests. We need advice.

Hi Allan. Why not try starting with something you're familiar with, to get used to studying online. Then you can move onto things that you've always wanted to try. When your goal is simply to learn something new, you can take your pick!

Greetings Polly,
I liked your paper about choosing the appropriate MOOC and fully agree with you.
From past experiences in training and education (regardless if it is for students or adult education) I noted that participants need to feel in a trusted environment, find their own tags or landmarks...else their choice might be subjectively linked to the their lack of awareness.
when I designed some look and feel MOOC courses, I made sure to engage the client (payers of budgets ;) ) to appreciate what an awareness e-module and its benefit for the success of the course. Thank you for this very valuable sharing :)

I choose my course base on my career path that i'm taking. This Open to study short course has help me alot to retain everything that i needED to know about the web and other aspect like user experience.

I used to try this online study, but lately I stop, since there are video links that aren't working which are prerequisites to the next topic. I tried to send feedback but I haven't received any reply nor update on the said Youtube video links.

Hi Willard, are you able to access YouTube normally? If you can't view the videos, you can always use the transcripts, using the link at the bottom of the video screen.

hi I had recently completed 4 weeks project management course through open study .Please suggest me further course. I am currently pursuing my MBA in information technology. . I am also looking forward to have a PMP certification.what job will be right for me.

Hi renuka. You could try doing some research on project management in your region. An online search is a good place to start.

I should have done nursing or some other para-medical degree/course when I LEFT SCHOOL. I AM SO INTERESTED IN ANYTHING MEDICAL AND WOULD LOVE TO STUDY IN THIS SPHERE NOW. I have done a years course at UNISA (South African correspondence university) in HIV/AIDS and have worked testing and consulting in a clinic for 8 years. What courses do you have that relate to anything Medical???? Thanks Wendy Thorburn

Hi Wendy. We've got a few coursees related to healthcare. If you go to the Free Courses page, then filter by 'Heath & Medicine' to see what's on offer.

I choose my course based on my career goal,but I there are some courses on here that I don't have any clue about that I am definitely going to enroll into.Broaden my horizon and learn new things .

i sort out OPEN2STUDY platform.it is excellent .at this site i learned the courses and also explore the world.i know about other cultures,races so many other things as well.

i joined the open2study this month .i want to learned the nutritional course.so that i can get maximum knowledge and transferred to other collegues.i also connect with entire world to join
open2study platform.that"s why it is superb place to know the culture of different contries.

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