This is a sponsored post by Zora Ellis
When seeking a degree, whether part-time or full-time, every opportunity to learn will help students become smarter, more effectual students. Whether aiming for an instructional design degree, a degree in business or a liberal arts degree, it makes no difference — how learning is incorporated into life is just as important as what is learned. A massive open online course (MOOC) is one opportunity to approach learning outside of the classroom.
1. Review Subject Basics
In the process of completing a degree or returning to school for a graduate degree after several years, reviewing the basics by enrolling in a beginner’s course at a school could be a waste of time and money.
Instead, students can complete a review of subject basics via a MOOC. These free courses from reputable universities will allow students to complete your review at the time and place of your convenience, in between other courses or shortly before a student is ready to enroll in school.
2. Take a Course at Another University
When choosing a college, location, cost and program offerings are usually the top determining factors. However, students may be interested in what other colleges have to offer as well. MOOCs allow students to learn from faculty at other colleges, including ones that might have been out of budget, at no charge.
Not only can a student see what learning is like at another institution with a MOOC, but they can open themselves to new learning techniques and teaching styles. Since adapting to learn new skills is a must for any career, this early practice of learning from faculty at another university is useful.
3. Sharpen Learning and Studying Skills
Long summer and winter breaks may be relaxing, but they allow study habits to weaken. Yet taking only one or two courses per semester on campus may be all that can be fit into a schedule, but the less time spent learning, the harder it will be to complete course requirements at a satisfactory level.
Breaks and free time with a MOOC to keep a student’s mind active and study skills sharp. Taking a course that will prove useful in an intended major, or used as an opportunity to study a subject that always been intriguing. Whether or not the student can immediately apply what is learned in a career, this practice in studying and continuous learning can serve them well.
4. Take Courses Before College
MOOCs can serve as a bridge to returning to education. They’re free, they’re from reputable universities and they can fit into any schedule. If a student is waiting to go back to school because they can’t afford the courses or don’t feel they have time to get to the campus during the week, a MOOC is a way see if they’re ready for higher education.
Think of a MOOC as a test run. If the course stirs the desire for learning, a student would be more likely to make time and find a way to finance their degree.
5. Get Free College Credit
Enrolling in a MOOC can be rewarding for students, but it may also be possible to get college credit for completing the work. Speaking with an advisor or college administrator, who can review the course and see if it qualifies for college credit at a chosen institution is smart. If no one has gotten credit at a college for a particular course before, students may have to appeal to receive credit, but as the result could be an earlier graduation or better GPA, the inquiry could prove worthwhile.
Both part-time and full-time students can complement their education with free MOOCs, as can those who are on a break from traditional education. Whether earning a bachelor’s degree in science or a Master’s in education technology, a MOOC is a way for students to review subject basics, take courses at other universities, sharpen learning and studying skills, and, if a college cooperates, get college credit.
About the Author: Zora Ellis is a contributing writer and admissions coordinator. She’s held several lectures encouraging students to investigate online learning; image attribution flickr user tulanepublicrelations