Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and Professional Development

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By Mohamed Okash

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)
is a new learning model based on web
technologies content learning or virtual classrooms
that is available to any student who wants to take any course. Everyone around
the globe can quickly develop his/her
skills almost for free.

In 2014, approximately 36% of
global employers’ reported that many job positions remain vacant due to talent
crisis or absence of needed skills (Samans, Zahidi, Keveloh et al., 2015). Therefore, MOOCs will probably
be the solution for professional development and employment talent crisis.

With Massive Open Online Courses,
individuals can develop their specific professions and attain certificates of accomplishment-free of charge. With its key
feature: “open access”, anyone can participate in the course for free although learners
receive no credit. The courses are aimed to help indefinite numbers of students
who might not access this knowledge and skills during regular classes. According to Educate, MOOC learning activities
could be synchronous (working or moving at the same rate) and asynchronous (one
character at a time). Some courses are self-biased, and
others are not so that the students can
choose either of them.

“The term Massive Open Online
Courses (MOOCs) was first introduced in 2008 by Dave Cormier to describe
Siemens and Downes’ Connectivism and Connective Knowledge course” (Yuan and
Powell, 2013). This course was initially
for more than 20 participants enrolled for credit with fee payment, and over 2,300 people participated in the
course without paying fees or gaining credit. In 2011, Stanford released access
of such “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence”
courses that attracted hundreds of thousands of students around the
world (Wikipedia, 2015). Notable MOOC platforms include Courser a, ALISON, Edx
and many others. In fact, MOOC a new
ecology of learning in today’s world is gearing towards
skill development.

Everyone can take a course
through a device: computer, tablet, or smartphones
anywhere. The students can join and participate in
any classes with no payment and no
credit. They only should submit course’s activates, which might involve
watching videos, reading Powerpoints/
PDFs, Submitting quizzes/ assignments, posting discussion boards and commenting
via social media platforms (Educuase, 2011). Learners must have internet
connection since the class is virtual or online. Course materials downloaded, activities uploaded or submitted.
Without an internet connection, it is
impossible for online class presence. Also,
learners must show commitment. The same
as physical classes, the success of online courses
needs total commitment.

Coursera, a prominent MOOC
platform, offers many required different
field courses including Personal Development, Entrepreneurship,
Social Sciences, Humanities and so on, those aim
for skills upgrading. For example, Academic English Writing had been offering
by the University of California, Irvin
through Coursera is extremely important for secretaries, researchers,
journalists, students and many others. Most of developing nations’ education
system lacks well-designed curriculum
that can produce a highly skilled labor force to the market so that MOOCs can be a solution for skills
upgrading. Sometimes employers lookout for some specific skills, those can be learned on MOOC. Some skills become absolute, and others emerge. Importance of some skills varies from organization to organization or
country to country. “Cloud and distributed computing skills have surged to the
top of 2015’s list. While it was a sought for skill in a few countries up until
now, there has been a massive increase in members listing
this skill on their profile” (LinkedIn, 2015). Furthermore, MOOC learners earn certificates of accomplishments
after passing all course activities.

Furthermore, MOOC is a
win/win solution for both Job seekers and employers. A significant number of Jobseekers advances their careers from MOOC
platforms. 2014, the survey was conducted
by Coursera and its partners which discovered “Fifty-two
percent of leaners said they took courses to develop
their career.

Finally, MOOC can be
the best alternative for a business
leader to train their employees. Typically,
a job in training
is expensive regarding cost and time. If employers encourage their staffs to
advance their career through MOOCs, this will change the productivity of their
business. Building career for a new job
or in the post and recruiting talented teams is easy to
achieve MOOCs.

In conclusion, Massive Open
Online Course (MOOC) was innovation in ICT in Education which dramatically
changed the way of learning. The Notable platforms include Edx, Coursera, Khan Academy,
Udacity, Udemy, Alison, and others.  MOOC is easily
accessible and free to everyone, anywhere, anytime, on any subject. Finally,
MOOC is the solution for those who are
seeking a new job, a promotion, or starting a new business.

Somali Business Review,
publication of SIMAD University was where this article
was first released.|
Volume 9, Issue 2, April-June 2016

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