By Melissa Cardin
Perhaps one of the best ways to spend extra time while looking for that perfect job is to bulk up on your training, skills and continuing education. Unfortunately, this can be a costly endeavor. Or, it used to be, until the recent surge in Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOC's (pronounced "mooks"), to the internet community.
What Is a MOOC?
MOOCs emerged in 2008, and loosely resemble correspondence courses. Classes are offered to a large number of students, over the internet, for free. In a typical MOOC, students watch short video lectures online and complete assignments that are graded either by machines or by their peers. This format allows a single professor to teach a class of several thousand students in a personalized manner.
Where Can I Take a MOOC?
Websites such as Coursera, Canvas Network, EdX or Udacity are the major players in the MOOC arena, and although they are not designed to replace higher education, the courses offered can be used to supplement or reinforce courses and trainings taken in the past, or to learn new topics in an informal setting.
How Do I Verify I Took the Course?
If you decide to proceed with a MOOC, how do you prove you actually took the class? Coursera has a signature track, which verifies your identity, but for a fee. Accredible is a free alternative to paying the fee. Accredible co-founder Danny King describes it as "reimagining credentials so that MOOCs can be credible enough to put on your CV."
"Anyone can sign up and make their own certificate for an online course they're taking (in fact, you can create a certificate on anything)," he writes. "The credibility comes not from an institution's brand, but from attaching proof of your learning onto the certificate itself for anyone to see (notes, assignments, videos of them explaining key concepts, quiz results, statements of accomplishment, etc.). The focus is therefore on the learning itself and not on where you did it. The whole certificate is sharable by a tiny URL which can be given to employers or colleges on your CV, via Email or LinkedIn."
Some great examples of what Accredible Certs look like can be found on their gallery page.
Give It a Try
Now that you know about some affordable opportunities are out there to expand your knowledge base, why not try taking a course? You can show off your internet savvy as well as your newfound knowledge at your next job interview.