I have really enjoyed my studies so far and have arranged my schedule to the equivalent of full-time study.
Finding a path
MOOCs have helped round out my knowledge, but they can do much more. In my case, the several I have taken have enabled me to choose an educational and occupational path to go down. I am not under any illusion that the path will be easy. I may get frustrated and stumble along the way, but I can at least see where I am headed now. And this is all on account of MOOCs.
If you haven't already enrolled in any of the courses at Open2Study yet, then I highly recommend that you give it a go. The courses are created in such a way to be accessible for newcomers and interesting enough to offer something for more learned students.
There is no pressure, with regular intakes to allow for folks that weren't able to complete the course previously to complete their study. The forums are a great resource as well, so be sure to make use of those during your studies. And be sure to mix it up a bit as well, as you never know what you will learn about yourself in the process of your studies.
Dianne’s Top Tips for new MOOCers
1. Familiarise yourself with the platform
Open2Study makes this relatively easy with their commonsense layout. Other providers require more of a learning curve in order to use their particular service.
2. Don’t approach study as a chore
If you consider it a chore then you will miss out on a lot of the benefits. Regular breaks avoid burnout and can give you a few minutes to de-stress if needed. Breaks that incorporate physical activity have some extra benefits as well.
3. Take lots of detailed notes
Notes help you retain more of the material by adding in the head-to-hand-to-pen. Electronic notes can be edited and printed out as many times as you like. There is an assortment of free alternatives to commercial products on the market today, and I highly encourage you to research word processors, spreadsheet and mind-mapping programs available for your operating system or tablet. There are plenty of websites and video tutorials for learning how to make use of your software as well. Consider using an online backup service for your files as well, and/or copy them onto a memory stick.
4. Make use of forums
Talk to people about the subject and ask for help if you are having trouble with a concept. It’s not about pride, but finding a way to learn as much as you can during the study time you have available. Less stress means that you can also enjoy and get more of the time you spend studying.
Forums helped a lot during my online courses to date. The other students and staff show a real passion for the subject matter being taught and making the website more accessible for students. Other social networks were a means to learn what other folks were saying about the courses on offer. An example of this was Concepts in Game Development, a course that was being heavily discussed on twitter ahead of the 9 September intake.
5. Mix it up a little
Image by Jennifer Piper
By adding in some courses that differ from your standard interests, you may be pleasantly surprised by what you find. If you are more technically minded, take an arts and humanities course. If you love history for a specific period or subgenre such as music, consider a science refresher course. It can all add to your overall understanding of what has shaped us as human beings and as a society.
I am a 35 year-old housewife living in Hervey Bay, Queensland. I graduated high school in 1995, with a Pre-Vocational Mechanics (Electrical) course from Wide Bay Institute of TAFE under my belt. I also did a few tertiary entrance units from Central Queensland University around 5 years ago. I have wanted to write science fiction since watching Flash Gordon and Robotech cartoons as a little kid, with an interest in fantasy arriving later. I am now working to learn several programming languages through online education, enrolling in other subjects to round out my overall knowledge and skill base.