e-Resource News: Learn Online, Any Time
MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, are online classes allowing unlimited participation, accessible via the web. These online courses, many available at no cost, usually offer traditional course materials, such as recorded lectures, readings/assignments and problem sets. They also usually provide interactive user forums that allow interaction between students, professors and teaching assistants, especially in those courses that you pay for.
There are a number of sites where you can take free online classes from top universities, but two in particular are the leaders in the field:
- Coursera – A for-profit educational technology company, founded by two Stanford University professors, that works with other universities to offer courses in the humanities, business, hard and soft sciences, computer science and math
- EdX – A non-profit, open-source platform for learning, founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, which combines cutting-edge technologies with rigorous coursework covering a wide range of disciplines. Course providers include UC Berkeley, Cal Tech, Georgetown, MIT and Harvard
Both Coursera and EdX offer free courses and unverified certificates of completion and a large variety of course providers. Courses are accessible from any device. While many MOOCs are free, if you are looking to confirm specific credentials via a certificate or a degree, you’ll want to pursue the paid options offered by the above providers.
Not ready for a MOOC or want to brush up on your tech skills before taking an online class? Fauquier County Public Library offers several premium e-learning options, free with your library card:
- Atomic Learning – Extensive video tutorials covering PC basics, Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite and more
- Testing and Education Reference Center – Test preparation for numerous exams for students and professionals (ASVAB, SAT/ACT, medical/nursing, etc.)
- Transparent Language Online – Interactive language lessons for 90+ languages, including ESL
Of course, for any of the above online courses/platforms, you’ll need the bandwidth in order to access. If you don’t have a fast connection at home, be sure to take advantage of the library’s free public computers and Wi-Fi.
~ Alison, Electronic Resources Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library