New Childhood MOOCs – two free online courses for Summer 2014

Two new MOOCs (massive open online courses) from the US and the UK are launching soon. Is one of them right for you?

Back in October 2013 I looked at the MOOCs Early Childhood Education by Gowrie Victoria on www.open2study.com, and Effective Classroom Interactions by the University of Virginia on www.coursera.org. This year there are two more options to choose from:

coursera-logo-nobg1. The Clinical Psychology of Children and Young People by the University of Edinburgh on Coursera.
This is a five week long course beginning on 28 July 2014. It requires between 1-3 hours of work per week, a total of 5-15 hours overall. The course is led by Professor Matthias Schwannauer, and offers a broad introduction to the core models of psychological development and the practice of the Clinical Psychology of Children and Young People. You don’t need to be working with children to study this course, and students who successfully complete it will receive a signed Statement of Accomplishment. The syllabus is:
Week 1: What is Development
Week 2: Attachment
Week 3: Risk and Resilience
Week 4: The Psychology of Adolescence
Week 5: Applied Developmental Psychopathology

EdX_Logo2. Positive Behavior Support for Young Children by The University of Washington on EdX.
This is a nine week long course beginning on 10 June 2014. It requires between 3-4 hours per week, a total of 30-35 hours overall. The course is led by Dr. Gail Joseph and will teach evidence-based models to promote social-emotional development for young children. The course is aimed at early childhood educators (also known as early years practitioners) already working with young children. As part of the course you will analyse the behavior one of your children in detail, working towards the outcome of learning classroom management skills that prevent challenging behavior. No certificates will be issued with this course.

Which course should you choose?
If you’ve not studied a MOOC before, Clinical Psychology of Children and Young People should be a good place to start, particularly if you’re interested in older children. It covers a wider age-range and is less skills-orientated, so you don’t need to be a current practitioner. In contrast, Positive Behavior Support for Young Children is a longer and more advanced course, so if you studied either of the MOOCs I reviewed last year, then this would be an ideal follow-on course. I’d summarise their relative positions like this:

Introductory level:

Early Childhood Education by Gowrie Victoria

Clinical Psychology of CYP by Edinburgh

Practitioner level:

Effective Classroom Interactions by Virginia

Positive Behavior Support by Washington

Interestingly, with edX, we now have a third platform in the mix. One analogy is with supermarkets; the four courses above are equivalent to products you might want, but which supermarket you choose to get it from can make quite a difference to your experience. So far I have preferred the Australian open2study platform over Coursera, as it’s more fun to use and the students achieve better results. However, I’m really looking forward to trying edX, not least because it is the only major platform that is nonprofit and open-source, which sits comfortably with my own attitude that education should be more of a human right than a commercial commodity.​

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2 responses to “New Childhood MOOCs – two free online courses for Summer 2014

  1. Are these sort of courses available for other areas of work, for example adoption?

  2. Thanks for this – my friends and I are going to have a busy summer!

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