16 Best Massive Open Online Courses

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I believe that in the age of information, ignorance is a choice. In fact, the “age of information” is really an understatement in my opinion, considering the overabundance of information available through television, public libraries, books-sharing programs, and the internet.

Massive Open Online Courses

The internet has been key to bringing us into this age of information and now there are multitudes of massive open online courses (MOOCs) offered for free online from universities. Online facilitators such as EdX and Coursera allow students and educators to connect like never before, leading to a far more educated society than ever before.

Here are the top massive open online courses you should try out! All courses were chosen based on student ratings and reviews, as well as consideration for a vast array of course topics so as to avoid overlap.

Mathematics

AlgebraX: Introduction to Algebra

Rating: 5/5

Offered by EdX, this open online course is an introduction to algebra. It allows you to choose your, lesson speed and the freedom to jump around different sessions. This is a high school level course and aligns with Common Core standards. The total course completion time is 157 weeks with an applied four-to-six hours per week.

The course also offers $50 certificate to prove completion.

Fractals and Scaling

Rating: 5/5

This class, offered by the Santa Fe Institute, is an advanced mathematics course dealing with geometry, exponents, logarithms, power laws, and use of fractals in the real world. This course applies basic algebra, making it a decent follow up course to “Introduction to Algebra.” The total course completion time is seven weeks with an applied two-to-four hours per week.

A complimentary certificate is available upon completion of the course.

Introduction to Engineering Mathematics with Applications

Rating: 10/10

EdX brings you this course offered by the University of Texas, which teaches basic engineering mathematics and the applications for these mathematical concepts in practice. Topics include fractions, trigonometry, derivatives, quadratic equations, linear equations, and much more. The total course completion time is eight weeks with an applied four-to-six hours per week.

A verified $49 certificate is offered upon completion of the course.

Math Behind Moneyball

Rating: 7.3/10

Coursera and the University of Houston will teach you how probability and statistics are used to improve sports teams, lineup selection, and even game strategy, as made popular by the hit baseball film, Moneyball. Course run time is ten weeks with an applied six-to-eight hours per week.

A free statement of accomplishment is offered upon completion of the course.

Literature and Language Arts

Plagues, Witches, and War: The Worlds of Historical Fiction

Rating: 4.5/5

The University of Virginia brings us the literature that helps us shape visions of historical events through the lense of relatable fictional characters. The course covers the 18th and 19th centuries as well as multiple authors such as William Wells Brown, Charles Dickens, and Anna Katharine Green. Course run time is twelve weeks with an applied two-to-three hours per week.

A paid certificate is available upon completion.

Shakespeare and his World

Rating: 5/5

The University of Warwick invites us to explore the cultural background, historical period, and life of William Shakespeare and how these factors led to his timeless works. Course run time is ten weeks with an applied time of five hours per week.

A $49 certificate is available upon completion of the course.

ENG101x: English Composition

Rating: 5/5

Effective communication and writing are important skills in today’s market. Arizona State University and EdX’s English composition course will teach you how to develop your writing skills in an effective manner through projects and reflections. Course run time is eight weeks with an applied eighteen hours per week.

A $49 certificate is available upon completion of the course.

CB22.1x: The Ancient Greek Hero

Rating: 10/10

Classical Greek literature and its emphasis on heroes helps us better understand what it means to be human and the pitfalls of this quality, despite our greatness. Harvard University and edX bring us many of the biggest titles in Greek literature, such as the Iliad, the Odyssey, the stories of Herodotus, and many more. Course run time is seventeen weeks with an applied three-to-five hours per week.

A free statement of accomplishment is offered upon completion of the course.

Science

Introduction to Genetics and Evolution

Rating: 8/10

Evolution is a highly misunderstood subject, which partly adds to its controversial nature. Duke university and Coursera will clear up these misconceptions in their Introduction to Genetics and Evolution class. The course covers genome sequences, natural selection, biology, and evolutionary genetics.Course run time is eleven weeks with no specified weekly hour commitment.

A paid and verified certificate is offered upon completion of the course. Price is unspecified.

D001x: Medicinal Chemistry: The Molecular Basis of Drug Discovery

Rating: 8/10

Ever wonder what goes into making the medicines that save lives or treat our deficiencies? edX and Davidson College’s course on drug discovery will teach you how to measure the activities of drugs, their half-life, the metabolism of molecules, and the methods for measuring the safety of drugs. Course run time is seven weeks with an applied six-to-eight hours per week.

A free verified certificate is available upon completion of the course.

The Science of the Solar System

Rating: 5/5

Explore and understand the science of our solar system through Coursera and the California Institute of Technology in their new open online class. Learn about the physics, chemistry, biology, and geology of the planets and other bodies that make up our solar system. Course run time is ten weeks long with an applied six-to-eight hours per week.

A paid certificate is available upon completion of the course. Price is unspecified.

Think101x: The Science of Everyday Thinking

Rating: 4.5/5

The University of Queensland and EdX invites you to dive into the psychology of everyday thinking and why people believe what they believe. Course run time is twenty six weeks and is completely self-paced.

A $99 certificate is offered upon completion of the course.

Social Sciences and History

The Holocaust: the Destruction of European Jewry

Rating: 10/10

The University of California and Coursera explore the Holocaust through multiple perspectives including literature, documents, films, documentary footage, and memoirs. With this information students will explore the roots of antisemitism, the history that led up to the Holocaust, and the implications of the Holocaust on world history. Course run time is eight weeks with an applied three-to-six hours per week.

A verified paid certificate is offered upon completion of the course. Price is unspecified.

The French Revolution

Rating: 4.5/5

What does freedom mean to you? Find out what it meant to the French during their revolution, as well as the origins and outcomes of the French Revolution through this Coursera class created by the University of Melbourne. Course run time is six weeks with an applied six-to-seven hours per week.

A paid certificate is offered upon completion of the course. Price is unspecified.

Politics and Economics of International Energy

Rating: 9.8/10

Energy and natural resources have always been a key component of international relations. Expansions of new resources such as the natural gas booms as well as long standing energy sources such as oil are front and center in these deals and understanding them is key to understanding international politics. This course offered by Sciences Po and FUN will educate students on these policies as well as their implications. Course run time is eight weeks with an applied three hours per week.

There is no certificate offered for this course.

ER22.1x: Justice

Rating: 8.2/10

Harvard and EdX have brought back one of their most popular courses offered by the university to teach students about the morals, philosophy, and applications of justice in our contemporary society. Course run time is twelve weeks with an applied two-to-four hours per week.

A statement of accomplishment or verified certificate is offered upon completion of the course.

Conclusion

Have you taken and/or facilitated an open online class before? What worked and what didn’t? Let us know in the comments below!

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Nick Morpus

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Nick Morpus is a former Capterra analyst.

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