The importance of MOOCs for engineering students
Around 10 million students choose distance learning education each year, according to a survey by FernUniversität in Hagen, a German university specialized in this type of learning. One of the most recent educational phenomena related to distance learning education are MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). They retain and extend some of the features that attract students to distance learning education – flexibility is among them.
“We can refer to MOOCs courses as an aid in teaching,” says the head of the Distance Learning Department of the Sul-Rio-Grandense Federal Institute (IFSul), Luis Otoni. It is a concept of distance education characterized by using Web 2.0 to teach some kind of content to a large number of people through free video lessons that can be accessed at any time or place. Courses can be modified and shared by users and are often used by universities to teach for a short term some specialization course, either academic or professional. The main benefit of MOOCs is its open access: the user has more knowledge without bureaucratic obligations.
Luis Otoni explains that the MOOCs courses are important to assist formal education and distance learning, especially in the technology area. “If there is an area that needs sharing, this is the one. If you have a traditional course that cannot be changed, it becomes obsolete in less than two years. For professional education, MOOCs will bring a breath fresh air to the student’s knowledge,” he says.
Many of our students and faculty members are completing the courses in MOOCs and getting extra certificates by the time they complete their degrees. This is going to fetch them a lot in their interviews.
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