Teach Yourself Revolution: Good Intentions

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A lot of us sign up for online courses – online education is becoming more and more dynamic and accepted. People do it for enrichment, self-betterment, refreshing skills, dipping our toe into something totally new, for diversionary purposes, for actual university-level degrees. I have signed up so many times for these MOOCs (massive open online courses) and never really participated in a single one until now.

Not surprised, then, when I visited my current course’s webpage to read: “If you have got this far and completed the first test, you are amongst the 45 percent left who started the course.” Three weeks in (one-third of the length of the class), fewer than half are still in the course. According to UK Times Higher Ed online (2013), only about seven percent (!) of MOOC students complete the courses they start. Remarkable.

Then again, it is not surprising – there is nothing holding you accountable. The learning with MOOCs, if you learn or engage at all, is passive at best.

While not nearly as passive (collaboration/group work and interaction is required), I have nearly completed an MA degree completely online but have not finished the last little bit – but I found that even with the level of self-discipline I have (I work mostly at home), finding the time and discipline to keep up on readings and lectures was really tough. If school/studying is not the priority or does not have some immediacy in my daily life (that is, the Coursera class I am taking now is quite relevant to my daily work while my MA had very little to do with my life or career), I am not going to be nearly as motivated to make it a priority.

But every time I sign up, I have high hopes and, even more, the best of intentions.

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