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Massive Open Online Courses [MOOCs] For Homeschool Students

Do you know how your teen can find and gain admission to a perfect fit college? I do! Click to register for my free class: College Applications Simply Explained.

You can teach your child college level material at home, because do it yourself college classes are everywhere right now! They are easy to find online, and sometimes are completely free.

As a group, these classes are called Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). They are free online courses available to anyone that enrolls, even homeschool teens.

Some classes are Open Courseware, provided by Harvard and MIT.
UMass Boston Open Courseware
MIT Open Courseware
Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative
Tufts Open Courseware
Stanford on iTunes U

Some classes are geared toward technical fields, like website design. Some classes are to earn college credit, and others are for self-edification only.

Websites, like Coursera, offers college classes with certification. There are other websites that list college level classes, though. To find more information, start here.
Coursera.org
edx.org
openculture.com
udacity.com
udemy.com

Other websites offer different classes, including some high school level courses.
alison.com
codecademy.com
duolingo.com
khanacademy.org
lynda.com
teamtreehouse.com

Many of these courses are fine to use, but parents should consider carefully before signing your teen up.

  1. ​Carefully read everything about the class before you register.
  2. Most are college level. Only use them when your child is capable of being successful and is able to work at a college level.
  3. These classes contain secular content that may not be appropriaate for some Christian families, or for younger teens.
  4. Many of these classes are paced at a college level, giving your child only 6-8 weeks to finish the class. If you choose to use these types of classes, I recommend choosing a class that is self-paced.
  5. Most of these classes typically cannot be counted as dual credit classes, although some can. Do your research.
  6. These classes will allow you to continue homeschooling even through the college level, whether they earn college credit or not.
  7. Homeschooling is not a race, and it's not a competition to see who can get their child into college level courses first. Only utilize classes when your child is ready for them, they fit the mission of your homeschool and the interests of your student, and your child can be successful.
Be calm. You don't need an MOOC if it's not a good fit.​ If you are interested in more ways to homeschool college, check out my Coffee Break Book, "How to Homeschool College."

Has your family used an MOOC class before? What was your experience? Please share in the comments section below.

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Comments 6

Guest - Rebecca on Thursday, 06 August 2020 20:42

I tried a Creative Writing course on Coursera. I wouldn’t recommend this type of course to my graduating sons.
Anything considered creative and artistic may contain offensive content. This particular course had professors celebrating highly offensive behavior in modern literature.
Also, I agree with the above review about peer-reviewed grading. There were students who had not read the brief and so did not grade based on successfully following the instructions. For example:”write a short one -paragraph intro to a short story...”
Peer:”I didn’t like this. I thought that one paragraph was too short and the story isn’t finished.”

That said, our homeschooling friends took a Coursera Dairy Science course for credits and they had a great experience.

Also, we have used several Great Courses topics and they are easy to use, self-paced and so far, clean.
Very good for learning new skills, even if we don’t get credits.
(Programming, Nutrition and Cooking)

Thank you for the great list of sources in this post!

I tried a Creative Writing course on Coursera. I wouldn’t recommend this type of course to my graduating sons. Anything considered creative and artistic may contain offensive content. This particular course had professors celebrating highly offensive behavior in modern literature. Also, I agree with the above review about peer-reviewed grading. There were students who had not read the brief and so did not grade based on successfully following the instructions. For example:”write a short one -paragraph intro to a short story...” Peer:”I didn’t like this. I thought that one paragraph was too short and the story isn’t finished.” That said, our homeschooling friends took a Coursera Dairy Science course for credits and they had a great experience. Also, we have used several Great Courses topics and they are easy to use, self-paced and so far, clean. Very good for learning new skills, even if we don’t get credits. (Programming, Nutrition and Cooking) Thank you for the great list of sources in this post!
Robin on Thursday, 06 August 2020 21:24

Thank you for the fantastic info, Rebecca!

Robin
Assistant to The HomeScholar

Thank you for the fantastic info, Rebecca! Robin Assistant to The HomeScholar
Lee Binz on Monday, 03 September 2018 14:52

Sandra, thanks os much for sharing your first-hand experience! I really appreciate it.
Blessings,
Lee

Sandra, thanks os much for sharing your first-hand experience! I really appreciate it. Blessings, Lee
Guest - Sandra on Monday, 03 September 2018 05:56

We had some great experiences with MOOCs. Generally I used them as part of a course, and added other MOOCs or readings to flesh things out. The main issue we had was when we wanted a certificate of achievement for one to them and the course included peer reviewed assessments. Most of the comments were reasonable and the grades were fair and based on the rubric provided. One peer reviewer couldn't open the assignment (despite it being submitted in the correct format) and gave it a 0. Luckily the grading system meant the lowest grade was dropped so my daughter's overall grade wasn't affected. But it could have been a problem and there was no way of appealing such grading. The comments on the course forum indicated other students received grades and comments that seemed unfair based. So my advice would be to be wary of the peer review system, especially with younger students who may not be so able to shrug off a bad experience.

We had some great experiences with MOOCs. Generally I used them as part of a course, and added other MOOCs or readings to flesh things out. The main issue we had was when we wanted a certificate of achievement for one to them and the course included peer reviewed assessments. Most of the comments were reasonable and the grades were fair and based on the rubric provided. One peer reviewer couldn't open the assignment (despite it being submitted in the correct format) and gave it a 0. Luckily the grading system meant the lowest grade was dropped so my daughter's overall grade wasn't affected. But it could have been a problem and there was no way of appealing such grading. The comments on the course forum indicated other students received grades and comments that seemed unfair based. So my advice would be to be wary of the peer review system, especially with younger students who may not be so able to shrug off a bad experience.
Guest - Rebecca on Thursday, 06 August 2020 20:29

Agreed!

Agreed!
Lee Binz on Friday, 26 January 2018 19:19

Our kids graduated before the advent of MOOCs. I'd really be interested in your experience with them. Please comment below!

Our kids graduated before the advent of MOOCs. I'd really be interested in your experience with them. Please comment below!
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Tuesday, 20 October 2020

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