Coursera charges a fee for a certificate

Self-directed learning requires discipline


MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses

Have you ever participated in a MOOC? MOOC stands for "Massive Open Online Courses" and means open courses where you can work on and learn different subject areas free of charge via the Internet. Jörn Loviscach, Professor of Engineering Mathematics and Technical Computer Science at the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences, asks in his contribution whether this is what future learning looks like?


Origin, providers and business models

The courses, which appeared for the first time in 2012, have potential, but the creation of high-quality course materials is very time-consuming and costly. Providers of commercial MOOC platforms such as Coursera, Udacity and edX have therefore tested various business models. If you initially wanted to put the best participants in a company and charge them a fee for this, the model has now established itself of offering the course free of charge, but charging a fee for an associated certificate. US providers such as Coursera and Udacity also offer complete courses in course form and for a fee.

In German-speaking countries there are z. B. moiin, iMooX and openHPI. The university-independent platform iversity has specialized in offers for companies. The Hamburg Open Online University is still under construction and so far has only a limited range of courses.


The course content of a classic MOOC usually consists of learning slides and lectures, test tasks, videos and images and there are discussion forums in which you can exchange ideas via chat or video conference. The topics are diverse and range from software development, general study questions, training courses for various software such as office, science and courses on educational questions.

Mass production vs. staying power

At the beginning there was a rendezvous of all well-known elite universities and teachers, all of whom were very keen on the online courses, but interest has now waned because, as Loviscach knows, "there were" too many courses that were produced too cheaply. " have shown that only about 3% of the participants "hold out" until the final certificate. The majority only look at the course a few times. Because anyone who wants to take part in a MOOC needs good English skills, self-organization and iron discipline.

take chances

If they are didactically well prepared and structured, MOOCS offer a lot of opportunities. In addition to time and location-independent learning, self-directed learning, in which everyone can progress at their own learning pace, is a big plus. They are also suitable for further education or training parallel to professional activity, e.g. B. if courses are worked on together and counted towards the working time. MOOCS can also be helpful for orientation and for refreshing basic knowledge when entering or re-entering professional life.


Curious? Then simply register for a free course. Jochen Robes recommends ten free online courses in his training blog.


Numerous online courses, online lectures and MOOCs from 22 subjects can also be found on edukatico, a German search portal.

to compare

The Federal Office for Civic Education offers an overview and comparison of the most important MOOC platforms.