Internet is more accessible than ever before. With the advent of new devices such as tablets and data phones, people do not have to wait for a desktop or laptop to access the web. Almost every industry and service provider is using this technology to reach out to more people. Several online colleges and universities have also cropped up over the years. These offer degree and credential programs to students and working professionals who do not have the time or resources to attend a traditional classroom. A relatively recent trend is that of free, online education portals such as MIT OpenCourseWare, Coursera and Khan Academy. These websites provide short-term courses to anyone who wishes to learn a new skill. Although you do not receive a degree or a credential, you will have the benefit of being taught by the best faculty members in world from top universities such as Stanford, MIT, Georgia Tech and Penn State.
With millions of registrations and page views from across the globe, these portals are revolutionizing the way our education system works. This has motivated many educators such as George Siemens to share knowledge and inspire students around the world. Their teaching is no longer restricted by the walls of the classroom and the policies of the universities and colleges.
Siemens is the Founder and President of Complexive Systems Inc., a research lab that helps organizations develop global strategy execution. He is the author of popular books such as Knowing Knowledge and the Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning. After completing his Ph.D. at University of Aberdeen, he also worked as Associate Director at the Learning Technologies Center at University of Manitoba. He has been a keynote speaker at several education and technology conferences. His work has also been acknowledged by national and international media outlets across the globe. He also writes extensively at eLearnSpace blog.
Siemens is currently affiliated to the Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute, or TEKRI, at Athabasca University. He has contributed immensely to the field of online and open source education by supporting the theory at various conferences across the globe. He also contributes and manages Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), a web-based education portal that offers free classed to students across the globe. The website has attracted thousands of users over the years. The learners can typically control what, where, how and with whom they learn. The portal has an open design and students can interact with other professionals and peers through an extensive set of online discussion boards. Your work is also reviewed and critiqued by all the participants, giving you a global perspective.
Other benefits of MOOC include:
- Low cost program that can be accessed from any computer with an internet.
- Teachers can design comprehensive coursework using the tools on the website.
- The courses are completely free
- Students can network and develop contacts with their peers.
- The web translation tool helps students access the coursework irrespective of their knowledge in English
- Informal setting
Siemens has big plans for MOOC. He believes that free, open courseware will change the world for the better by giving everyone access to quality higher education.