A few issues ago, we had done some extensive research and spoken to a number of experts to bring you an article on e-learning and how learning online is becoming very popular with college students. We had especially delved into MOOCs-Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)-that offer online education to anybody around the world. Some of the popular MOOCs offered today have been started by the best universities in world, offering courses from their institutes: platforms/initiatives such as Udacity and Coursera (Stanford University) and EdX (Harvard and MIT). These e-learning websites allow top universities and professors to share their knowledge with the world and give everybody a chance to study something they have a passion or interest for. And the best thing about these courses? They are usually free, although there is sometimes a charge to get certifications.

The time taken to complete a course depends on the subject and complexity, but generally last anywhere between four to 12 weeks. A course typically involves a professor and his team of teaching assistants (who are often students from the college itself). This team uploads around five teaching videos a week and registered students have to complete a weekly assignment based on these videos. The course also incorporates a discussion forum involving all the students who have enrolled, allowing everyone to discuss the subject, their assignments, and clarify their doubts. Generally, e-learning courses award students a Certificate of Mastery on successful completion of the course.

MOOCs are generally meant for college students so that they can supplement what they learn at college or take a course that they are not formally pursuing in college. But we had recommended that high-school students also consider enrolling in some of these MOOCs since they could offer a range of benefits to the motivated student who wants to get ahead in academics and learning.

And co-incidentally enough, EdX has just announced the launch of a high school initiative-a set of 27 new MOOCs in a wide variety of subjects, specifically geared to high school students around the world. The EdX high school MOOCs are developed by many of the best universities in the world, including UC Berkeley, Rice, MIT, Georgetown, and Davidson among others. The objective is to offer high quality, engaging, and interactive courses to prepare high school learners for postsecondary studies.

The 27 MOOCs cover subject areas ranging from mathematics to science, English and history, and even college advising and are intended at providing students around the world the opportunity to pursue challenging, advanced coursework. Learners will be able to enroll in all 27 EdX high school courses for free. EdX will also offer students a verified certificate option for a fee that will vary by course. Currently, 22 high school courses are open for registration and all 27 will launch within a few months. For more details, you can visit https://www.edx.org/school/high-school-initiative

I would like to reiterate some of the benefits that a student can look forward to from enrolling in a MOOC, either an EdX one, or any other:

You can supplement your high-school knowledge by taking college-level courses in your chosen subjects.

Students have the option of selecting courses that they are interested in and studying them in-depth, even if they are not studying these subjects in school. You may be studying science in high school, but can always take an online course in English Poetry from Wordsworth to Eliot!

These courses enable a person to study something they are passionate about but may not be pursuing in the future, so you ‘can have your cake, and eat it too’!

The discussion board and group chats are beneficial – they lead to interactive learning and are also helpful for finding out more information on a particular aspect.

There is a variety of activities and assignments to complete within the courses that can enhance one’s learning – so it’s not just textbook learning.

You can test your competency and interest in a certain area to see if you want to take it up in college.

Most importantly, it prepares you for how college will be in terms of rigour and structure.

So what are you waiting for? Check out MOOCs now and enroll in one now!

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