MOOCs ? Which one do you choose ?
Since the beginning of the MOOC disruption phase back in 2012, many startups have emerged. The “big three” MOOCs Coursera, EDx & Udacity accounted for a total market share of 24 million students worldwide. Massive online open courses (MOOC) are threatening the educational industry since 2012. Coursera, the biggest fish in the MOOC industry revealed it hit 15 million student mark in August 2015. The same month EDx, a non-profit joint venture of the prestigious universities Harvard & MIT declared that they reached a total user base of 5 million students worldwide. Sebastian Thrun the CEO of Udacity stated that their platform reached a user base of 4 million active students.
Universities outside the US have adopted a reluctant stance on the adaptation of this new business model. However, universities across Europe may face fierce competition in the near future. As for example the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will start a pilot next academic year to determine if face-to-face contact can be delivered through their MOOC platform. The 10-month program will be split up in two parts. The first five months (also referred to as the “try before you buy period”) the students can complete their courses on the platform which decreases the cost of tuition dramatically.
Which MOOCs fits your needs?
MOOCs have become a leading resource for students interested in IT and computer science students across the globe. However, the real deal is which MOOC will land you a tech job?
For computer & information science specific courses Udacity will probably be your best bet. The programs offered at Udacity are designed together with industry giants in the tech landscape as Google, AT&T, Facebook, Salesforce & Cloudera. With topnotch educators as Sebastian Thrun (inventor autonomous car, project leader Google Glass & co-founder Udacity ), Steve Blank (Father of the lean start-up methodology, author & entrepreneur) Udacity is unparalleled in the educational computer science industry.
The nanodegree program offered by Udacity has been seen as the main disruptive characteristics of MOOC and is even considered as the biggest treat for traditional education in the online educational landscape. The crux of this nanodegree can be found in the unbundling of traditional curricula into so called ‘’nanodegrees’’. The nanodegrees range from intro to programming to full stack developer certifications.
EDx offers a wider variety of courses when compared to Udacity which has a computer science centric focus. EDx is a better fit for students that are interested in a specific course rather than a specific field of knowledge. In short, EDx offers several categories of courses from outstanding universities as Harvard and MIT. Despite the offering of a wide variety of courses as mandarin for beginners and the introduction to deep science course, EDx loses points on the ability to increase the quality of the user environment.
Coursera succeeded to be a distinctive player in the field. It manages to combine the benefits of both worlds by offering a wide variety of course while maintaining quality.
In short, Udacity may the best solution for oriented students that want to dive deeper and become experts in a certain field. Coursera & EDx are good options if you are interested in a wider range of courses without a specific need to dive deeper in a certain field of knowledge.