MOOC-Based Degree vs. Other Online Degrees | Coursera Community
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MOOC-Based Degree vs. Other Online Degrees


Hi everyone,

The author of this article discusses the differences between MOOC-based degrees and traditional online degree programs.

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-10-10-5-ways-mooc-based-degrees-are-different-from-other-online-degrees

* MOOC-Based Degrees Can Be Less Expensive
* MOOC-Based Degrees Are More Flexible
* MOOC-based Degrees Can be Stackable
* Many Courses Are Free to Audit
* The Application Process Can Be More Relaxed

What do you think? Have you experienced such programs? Which one would you prefer?

12 replies

Maryam, this is such an interesting topic. Thank you for starting this.
Everyone should be able to get the education they want and need. When your only option to get one was to attend a University, many people were prohibited from achieving a degree. There are many regions of the world where there simply aren’t any Universities that are commutable to. With people needing to work or bringing up children, you don’t have the time to go to school. The cost of a degree here in the US is so expensive, it discourages many from pursuing it. MOOC degrees are the answer to all of these challenges. You can also learn from some of the greatest teachers in the world when taking an online course.
As a result, more people can get the education they seek, so its a wonderful opportunity.

However, being in a live University, in a class, for example, with many interesting people is something you cannot duplicate online. The electricity in the room when a lively discussion is happening is something you cannot duplicate online. After class people could continue discussions. It is so stimulating and exciting to be able to interact with others face to face. You get to know the Instructors better in person as well. I prefer a real University, however, I appreciate the opportunity MOOCs give to the world.
Hi @Judith. So glad to see you here. Thank you for sharing your viewpoints. I agree with you. In this day and age, MOOC-based programs can help many people overcome the barriers you described so well.
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@Maryam What draws my attention to Degree Programs and Professional Development Courses via MOOCS is that they can be done concurrently with your present occupation and you don't have to take time away from your current profession. One can easily get a good job if they have Bachelor's Degree and so i may outscore Master's degree through this platform as the best way to move ahead in careers. It is quite imperative that when compared to regular Master's degree, where students devote their whole time in earning the degree, these programs prove to be a good way to earn great ranks in the Company because at the end of an yera or two they will have experience as well as degree.
Hi @Mohammad Sameer Hasan, I fully agree with you. The flexibility aspect could be a key advantage for people who have busy schedules. At the same time, it might be assumed that such programs are very easy or somehow trivial. It is great that the author has covered this point as well.

But even though the course load can be less hefty, MOOC-based degrees are not necessarily an “easy” alternative as compared to on-campus or other kinds of online degrees. For example, interviews with graduates of the iMBA found that all of them noted the program’s rigor.




Thanks for your contribution.
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I will make some remarks about the financial benefit: For sure, online based degrees are much less expensive than on campus degrees. This could be a big advantage in the middle- and long term future. Personally, i dont have a deep insight in the US Higher Education system because i´m from Germany and i can share things about our system.

Online Based Degrees can be the right answer on the permanent rising fees in the us. Especially, you can avoid with this solution to have high student debt with higer interest rates.
@Marcus , a higher education in the US is so expensive. Twenty years later we are still helping our son pay off his advanced degree. It is a debt so many people are saddled for such a long time. A problem with an online degree is that many don’t think it is as valuable. People often mock them and think they aren’t as valuable as a degree from somewhere you attended physically.
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@Judith: 20 years after graduating still paying off, that is in my view a sign this system must be fixed immediatley. And as you say, this is a big problem for the personal future. To the online degree: that is fact. Here in Germany i have read some things about Moocs or Online Degrees where the author wrote this is not valuable, or this have no universitary level or the learners are alone on the pc and have no contacts because the didnt sit in the class.

Personally for me, this are no reasons to avoid online learning. People and employers must think different about this topic. In this environment (digitalization) we live now, things changed and traditionally things made through different new ways.
@Marcus , I agree with you, but not everyone does. It will take a while for people to respect that an online education is as valuable.
Paying off college tuition loans has hurt so many people here. I wish all education was free, the way it is for young children.
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@Judith: Yes, you are right. I hope this change in the future and online education is seen as valuable.
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Hi everyone, thanks for bringing up this topic for discussion. In my experience I didn't like online courses giving two or three chances to give a correct answer for a question in test. I also don't like the narrative questions since most of the platforms don't have the efficiency to evaluate your responses. If the question gives me only one chance, I will find my self to get more focused and re-read those sections related to each question before I respond. I feel more satisfied and more confident about the subject matter when I successfully complete these kinds of courses. Otherwise, most of the courses taken online will be forgotten early unlike those taken before decades in highschool or colleges in-class.
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Mooc based degrees have a lot of potential. But I can see a couple of challenges still ahead.

The first, being around support, it is often the case that you're left on your own when taking a mooc. Specially when it is not a course with a set schedule, but rather one that keeps going all the time... In those cases cohorts are very sparse, and the forums become ghost towns... If the course is near the end of a specialization it only makes the sparsity worse, to the point where even staff becomes hard to find. Building strong community support mechanisms would go a long way countering this trend... (this new community is a great step in that direction), as well as mechanisms for feedback & strict quality controls.

The second is around admissions... most of the current degree programs being offered still depend of going through the old fashion admissions office. That bottleneck is filled with unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles. Some schools are experimenting with inverted admissions, but I've seen those mostly around coursera's competitors.


just my 2 cents
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Judith wrote:

Maryam, this is such an interesting topic. Thank you for starting this.
Everyone should be able to get the education they want and need. When your only option to get one was to attend a University, many people were prohibited from achieving a degree. There are many regions of the world where there simply aren’t any Universities that are commutable to. With people needing to work or bringing up children, you don’t have the time to go to school. The cost of a degree here in the US is so expensive, it discourages many from pursuing it. MOOC degrees are the answer to all of these challenges. You can also learn from some of the greatest teachers in the world when taking an online course.
As a result, more people can get the education they seek, so its a wonderful opportunity.

However, being in a live University, in a class, for example, with many interesting people is something you cannot duplicate online. The electricity in the room when a lively discussion is happening is something you cannot duplicate online. After class people could continue discussions. It is so stimulating and exciting to be able to interact with others face to face. You get to know the Instructors better in person as well. I prefer a real University, however, I appreciate the opportunity MOOCs give to the world.


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I totally agree with you....😉

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