Way back in the 20th century, being a student was something you did in your late teens through your early to late twenties, depending on your final degree. Both the job market and the Internet have conspired to change things. Entering a single company after school and staying with it for thirty years has become less likely, if next to impossible. Similarly, the undergraduate degree has become both essential, but also only a starting point to further education and career success and satisfaction.
The Internet has permanently changed the face of all postsecondary education, from undergraduate to continuing, professional education. In 2001, MIT President Charles Vest made a public announcement of MIT’s OpenCourseWare project, which eventually led to the free publication of resources from 1800 classes, campuswide. In 2011-12, MOOCs exploded onto the scene, combining short video explanations with a more interactive instructional path. Both of these resources are primarily for self-study, although the latter aims to offer a peer environment for collaborative assessment and discussion.
Okay, but where do I start?
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention UCI’s excellent OpenCourseWare project, which has numerous courses at the undergraduate and graduate level, but also specific resources for continuing and professional education in project management, business analysis, human resources development, regulatory affairs for the medical and pharmaceutical industry, California teacher preparation, and even Business English and teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL). That starting point for all of this is the OCW website.
If you go to our YouTube channel, UCIrvineOCW. There you can go back to school and study four years’ worth of chemistry lectures, or specific classes in Engineering, psychology, mathematics or graduate-level physics and chemistry. Do you need to review at an introductory level? We have that, too.
Yes, but it’s a big world out there? Where else should I look?
Our project, UCI OpenCourseWare, is a proud member of the Open Education Consortium, a grouping of more than 300+ universities, community colleges, educational organizations. Even IEEE, the largest professional association in the world, is a member. From the home page here, you can access some 30,000 modules, most in English, but many in Spanish, Mandarin and 17 other languages.
UCI is also a member of Coursera and offers a variety of courses, including preparation for K-12 teachers to teach in the growing online environment. The Open Education Consortium hosts some of its members’ MOOCs on EdX. These member MOOCs are different from others in that they will more often combine efforts by several universities and the course materials are truly open. You can download them, use them for teaching, share them with friends and more, no permission required. And, of course, EdX, like Coursera, offers many more.