Two early childhood-related MOOCs (massive open online courses) start in October. Which should you choose?
MOOCs are free web-based courses designed for large numbers of participants. Anyone wanting to take a MOOC simply goes to the website and signs up. Typical MOOCs comprise video lectures, readings, quizzes and exchanges with instructors and fellow participants in online forums.
Here are the two MOOCS of interest to us:
1. Early Childhood Education by Gowrie Victoria on www.open2study.com. Gowrie Victoria have been the Australian specialists in early childhood education since 1939. MOOC provider open2study, which is run by the Australian Open University, launched in April 2013 and currently has 28 courses on offer. The Early Childhood Education MOOC returns on 14 Oct 2013 for 4 weeks, and requires 2-4 hours of study per week. It gives an introduction to the many aspects of child development and explores how to support infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers during this critical stage of life. The course is aimed at anyone with an interest in early childhood education, including families and carers.
The syllabus is:
Week 1: The world of the child
Week 2: Belonging
Week 3: Being
Week 4: Becoming
2. Effective Classroom Interactions: Supporting Young Children’s Development by the University of Virginia on www.coursera.org. Coursera is the biggest player in the global MOOC movement, offering 368 courses from 83 institutions to over 4 million students so far. This course was developed specifically for teachers already working with preschool children and focusses on one area in particular – emotional support. The course begins on 22 Oct 2013 for 4 weeks, and requires 2-3 hours of study each week.
The syllabus is:
Week 1: Creating Emotionally Supportive Classrooms
Week 2: Building Positive Relationships with Children – The dimension of Positive Climate
Week 3: Providing Individualized Support to Young Children – The dimension of Teacher Sensitivity
Week 4: Supporting Children’s Independence and Sense of Self – The dimension of Regard for Child Perspectives
Which should you choose?
The open2study course has run twice previously. It achieved an 88% rating from it’s students and has a higher completion rate than usual. I appreciate their manageable class sizes and find their badge awards fun! I’ve looked over the shoulders of two friends doing Coursera and seen impressive content but huge numbers of learners, which sometimes appear overwhelming. I’d conclude that if you’re new to the subject or to online learning, open2study is a good place to start. However, if you want more of a challenge and to be part of a global community, go for Coursera. Whatever your choice, now is a good time to try out MOOC study as this method of learning appears to be here to stay.