The saying goes that an old dog can’t learn new tricks, but that point of view is being challenged as online platforms for education continue to evolve.
Online learning is no longer limited to simply downloading materials, going through them, and taking tests or demonstrating proof of understanding and application.
There are now more dynamic and interactive methods being used for these platforms, with apps, audio and video, online discussion venues, ebooks, and more.
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A classroom is no longer defined by a room, desk, lecturer, or even a set schedule. Students can now go online to learn at one’s own pace from reliable and exclusive institutions.
edX and Coursera are two preferred platforms for online learning, offering courses from recognized schools from around the world. Their certifications range from skills accreditation to diplomas to full out masters degrees.
Classes and programs run during a specific period, from a month to an entire semester, but students can check in and work at their own convenience any time during the day.
Coursera, in particular, gives a breakdown of recommended time to work on the week’s worth of assigned materials.
Coursera designs their offerings according to course, specialization, professional certificate, master track certificate, and a degree.
A course is equivalent to a workshop class, where you pick up skills from expert instructors versus a specialization or professional certificate which offer accreditation for career-related purposes.
A master track certificate, on the other hand, offers subjects for academic credit recognized by select institutions.
edX offers similar programs, with MicroMasters Program (subjects for school credit), Professional Certificate for skills certification, and X-Series or short classes for new skills.
They also have online degree programs, and a first year college program through the Global Freshman Academy by Arizona State University. Payments to edX do more than fund their own platform, part of its proceeds help their foundation to fund free education for those in-need.
Both sites’ courses and course materials are accessible through mobile apps, or from one’s web browser, and have options for free online “view-ins” (as opposed to traditional sit-ins) and paid certifications.
View-ins may access course materials and videos, though they are not be able to participate in discussions or activities.
While view-ins are allowed to follow the course to the end, no certificate or credit is given, as users are encouraged to sign up to fully maximize their course’s offerings.
There are different prices for each course however, depending on the length and certification offered at the end. edX’s classes start at US$49.00, while Coursera offers monthly subscriptions for access to the site starting from US$39.00 per month.
Courses on both platforms aren’t even limited to hard skills. Whether it’s programming language, another country’s language, math, or even arts and humanities, the course catalog for both sites are rich and offer something for everyone.
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