What are your goals when taking online courses? | Coursera Community
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What are your goals when taking online courses?

  • 5 February 2019
  • 9 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +9
Inspired by the interesting debate on this thread "Why MOOC´s didnt work" I thought I'd ask you for your opinion: what are your goals when you're taking MOOCs? Is completing the courses your aim or do you just want to learn some of the content within the course?

Why do you take online courses?

9 replies

Userlevel 1
Mostly for pleasure but also for other reasons - for example I'm downloading a MOOC for a granddaughter for her future reference. Not infrequently I register for a MOOC with the best of intentions and then abandon it for lack of time. I often focus only on the content that interests me, particularly discussion with other learners. I'm sceptical about the value of certificates - multiple choice questions, peer review etc can be useful but are blunt instruments for assessment purposes.
@Gordon_L , I agree with you that these certificates hold little value as far as being able to us them for a job. However, they are nice to collect for yourself, especially if you worked hard at the assignments and participated in the discussions.
in the field of education, teachers are asked to continue to learn and improve. Where I worked, we needed to choose an area to explore for a year. MOOCs were very helpful as one resource to be explored.
Userlevel 1
@Judith - I proudly display a couple of certificates obtained when they were free. Sadly no more as MOOCs were progressively monetised.
Userlevel 4
Badge +3
Now i will also answer here, because i´m responsible for the interesting debate i started with my topic. ☺

Personally, my goal is to improve my knowledge in my area of interest and also learn new things. The goal for me is at the end, to complete the course and the required tests and assignment to get a verified certificate. in the mid and long term, it would be nice when this help me to get a job in my field of interest, but it is also clear to me a verified certificate is no guarantee. Maybe, i´m to idealistic or a dreamer, i will see.
Userlevel 4
Badge +1
I usually take MOOCs for pleasure and a certificate is irrelevant in that respect. However, recently I decided to take specialization MOOC in order to improve my English and get better job. For that purpose I will need to obtain the certificate.
Userlevel 4
Badge +2
My intention is to re-educate myself. During my formal education at school, I was overly concerned in getting good grades without much learning. Because I am now working full time, MOOC is great place learn. You can study at your own pace.

My goal is to learn whatever interests me, which can be related or unrelated to my work. Before I enroll in a course, I still want to make sure that I am interested in the subject and complete it. All, if not most, of the courses are well structured, so it is worthwhile to finish them to have a good understanding of the subject.

Getting a certificate is actually a good motivation for me to complete the course. Although I keep it to myself, I find it encouraging to get a certificate from the world's best institution, after putting effort to learn and to finish the course.
To learn something for pleasure and to build upon my existing education.

I could, for the most part, care less about the certificate. Living in the US, they are pretty much worthless as any proof of knowledge. I wonder if even Coursera would consider an applicant whose only credentials were MOOC certificates for any position above janitorial? They might show an interest and self motivation to learn new things to an employer or educational institution in this country, but they are not accepted as proof of knowledge in this country. However as I am out of the workforce at this point in life and likewise not going to pursue any further formal schooling at this point in my life the possibility of that is irrelevant to me as well.

The classes I take are for the most part something I have always been interested in and want to keep up on what is new in the field, for example: Astronomy, anything to do with Geography, be it remote sensing of the environment, Geomorphology, or Resource Management or also anything to do with creative writing or music.

The other category of MOOC I take is something that I have been interested in but did not have the time or the means to pursue before, for example Linguistics which I got interested in in college many years ago but did not have the time available to pursue it then but have taken a couple of MOOCs on in the last few years. Similarly, pursuing mathematics beyond the level I was able to achieve in college is something that has been an on and off again project. And I have taken every hands on visual art class i have been able to find on the various MOOC platforms.

Something I have seen done by others and think is worth mentioning is upperclassmen in high school (or their country's equivalent) taking classes on a subject(s) that they think they might want to pursue in college to get a feel for what is involved in the discipline and if they really want to pursue it at a higher level, which i think is a marvelous use for MOOCs.

Another, related use I could see, although I have not seen anyone do this personally, would be for students from small rural high schools take classes in subjects that otherwise would not be available in their school because there is no one to teach it.
And it varies, depending on the subject and class in question whether my goal is to complete the course or just glean some of the information from it. I will at this point often not complete course because I will do quizzes and such, but I will rarely bother with submitting a peer graded assignment because of the inherent problems with that system. I usually do the assignment, for my own learning, but I rarely play the game of submitting it anymore which means I do not complete the course on the Coursera platform because I did not complete all of the assignments . (And this is something I like about edX, you do not have to complete or pass all assignments to pass most of their classes, you just have to have an overall point score of above whatever threshold has been set).
Userlevel 6
Badge +5
Hello everybody,

I always advise my friends to take online courses in addition to their academic degrees, some people rely on MOOCs to earn certificates or get a better job or because it's required for a certain career path, but I think that it's harmful to learn just for that!

All of us need to expand our knowledge and always learn new things, for me the most important goal of taking online courses is the passion to supplement or prepare for other education and learn about new fields, we as humans should move toward a better future, and this needs from us to be passionate to make our life better!

Taking online courses to improve learning skills will definitely lead to new job opportunities, and I realized that from my personal experience!