An older Millennial trying to embrace what makes her generation special.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Can I Commit to a MOOC?

This is part two in a very non-scientific study in which I see if I can learn anything online. This is not sponsored or funded by anyone. This is just pure curiosity and wanting to believe in technology. You can read part one here.

What Can One Learn Online?: A One Person Study

Part Two: Can One Commit?

The first time I signed up for an online course was in 2014. I was unemployed, and I was trying to learn to code because I thought it was my way out of the economic mess. I gave up very quickly.

Every so often, I would try to take another course - not so much for the idea I would learn a life-changing skill, but because I wanted to see if it was possible to actually learn something online. All of these attempts have also been a failure.

Then on October 29, I decided to audit a 5 week journalism course on Coursera. It was the first out of a five class specialization.

I did wonder if part of the reason I never committed was because I couldn't afford to pay for the courses. I mean, I dropped out of college twice, and I paid money for that. I usually finished the courses I was enrolled in, though. It is a lot easier to walk away from something that you have no financial commitment to. In fact, a MOOC completion rate has been quoted to be as low as 5.5%. Most people who enroll in a MOOC class will not compete.

I'm half way through week four in my first journalism course. Week four assignments aren't even due until November 25th, and I predict that by the end of the week, I'll be starting the second course.

What's the difference between someone who finishes and someone who doesn't? All I know is the difference between making progress this time, and never being able to finish before - I finally feel passionate about the topic that I'm learning.

And because I'm passionate, I found a routine. I scheduled time into my planner. I tell myself what I'm going to complete each day, and I do it.

It also helps that this particular course, while it locks the quizzes and assignments for those who pay, has practice quizzes and practice assignments. I feel like I'm making progress, and even though certification is definitely pay to earn, the course isn't pay to learn. I like that a lot.

I'm pleased with my progress. I'm even thinking of ways to apply what I learn to my life. I'm excited to see how far I can go.


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