Jan 312013

MOOCs - Bringing college to a laundry room near you!

MOOCs – Bringing college to a laundry room near you!

The latest trend in higher learning, massive open online courses (MOOCs) provide college-level courses in many subjects completely free. Top level universities, such as Stanford, CalTech, Duke, and more offer videos of courses taught on campus by high caliber professors. The courses are enhanced by cutting-edge online learning interactive tools; they almost feel like video games! (Know any kids who’d be down with that? I do!) Anyone can sign up completely free, and watch the identical presentations that on-campus students pay tens of thousands of dollars a year to attend.

Colleges don’t offer credits for these courses yet, complains the news report I’ve linked below. But they’re forgetting about CLEP exams.

The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) offers testing in various general courses for college-bound students. A passing score ensures college credit in that subject at many colleges and universities. (Not all accept CLEP, so be sure to check.) Our local junior college, Cabrillo, accepts many CLEP exams. Instead of paying for a course, students can take an $80 test. As I see it, students could take one of these free courses in preparation for a CLEP exam, pass the exam, and save both money and time on general ed undergraduate courses. I assume this approach would also work for SAT subject tests.

For more information about CLEP, visit the College Board website, here.

To see the news report about MOOCs, click here.

Follow these links to check out three innovative suppliers of MOOCs here:




Don’t forget about CollegePlus, for personalized career direction and assistance with CLEP planning, jump-starting higher education at a fraction of the cost. Click here.

And, of course, there’s also the Khan Academy.

As the news report points out, the main drawback is lack of community and face-to-face interaction. However, this can be mitigated with study groups. Perhaps local high school homeschoolers can create a group learning situation centered on these courses. As the mom of three computer-savvy kids, I’ll be giving this serious consideration. Let me know if you’re interested!

By Columba Lisa Smith

  6 Responses to “Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)”

  1. Hi, my boys are 12 and we are definitely interested in looking at some of these courses. Right now we are aiming at Santa Cruz High, but we don’t know if they will want to go there or homeschool through high school when push comes to shove. We’d sure like to make some more connections with local homeschool families, especially because we are independent, not AFE or Ocean Grove.

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    • I like the udacity. Thinking of getting my boys going on the college algebra course. I haven’t gone through the whole thing but it certainly starts at a level they can cope with (we do manga High for all our math, with supplemental coaching from yours truly). They are getting started with algebra now, so it is a good fit.

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  2. Thanks so much for sharing this with us Lisa! We will check it out. God bless you and your dear family. I love the pic by the way everyone looks great! :o )

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