Several providers of MOOCs (massive open online courses) have recently published free courses that are part of full university degree programs.
Online students can start by taking an introductory online course. Some course participants may then decide to pursue the full degree online.
EdX, FutureLearn, and Coursera have recently added several courses that are part of academic degrees.
Learners who just want to learn without a course certificate can access these course materials for free.
Why is this an important development for students?
Degree Content Will Improve Online Course Quality
Traditional MOOCs are produced for online learning audiences only, and therefore do not always cover the same content as regular academic courses. MOOC quality can thus vary greatly.
However, these new programs allow online learners access to the same academic content as regular university students.
We expect that the overall quality of MOOCs will benefit. Universities will make sure that only high-quality content will count towards their degrees.
EdX: The Inventors of MicroMasters
Online course platform edX has pioneered the availability of online degree courses with their MicroMasters program.
FutureLearn: British and Australian Universities
UK-based FutureLearn has a similar program in place. They have teamed up with several British and Australian universities.
Learners can take an introductory online course (in the free audit track, or in a paid certificate track). If they decide to continue in their chosen field of study, they can enroll in several online degree programs.
Coursera: Computer Science and Business Degrees
Coursera, as the largest MOOC provider, has teamed up with several universities from the U.S. and other countries to offer degrees in computer science and business. Some of the degree components are offered through MasterTracks.
MOOCs 2.0: Free Courses That Are Part of Degree Programs
The online degree courses can be taken as part of a (paid) full academic program. This is equivalent to a regular course of studies at a university.
However, because the audit track for individual courses is usually open for anyone, many more learners now have free access to the same high-quality academic online courses.
Thus, MOOCs are no longer a slimmed-down version of university courses. This development will bring MOOCs one step closer to being a relevant component of a free online university education for everyone, even if official degrees will still carry a price tag.
Edukatico Is Your Search Portal For Online Courses
In our course directory, we list more than 8,000 video-based online courses, MOOCs and video lectures from various providers. Many of them are free to learn!