MOOCy Monday: A Comparison of Learning Platforms

coffeemoocAfter a bit less than a year of auditing and participating in various online classes, I have a general idea about how the different MOOC models work. I have, so far, looked at: coursera, FutureLearn, Open2Study, Iversity, Open edX, Stanford Online, and Alison. I find all of them very good, all of them offer a variety of interesting subjects. Most of them work after similar principles. Chosing one will mostly be a matter of personal preference, language offered, or type of courses offered.

I’m offline some evenings of the weeks, and that’s also the time when I have time to study. Too bad, then, that most course material is only available online. Having easy access to the material offline is therefore a major criterion for me to chose a platform; an app that allows offline viewing is ideal. The only platform with apps is coursera, and that’s why I take most of my courses there. The other platforms I’ve checked out so far do offer good courses, and, in any case, are worth a look. I’ve picked a few criteria and compared them for the different MOOCs. This is neither an official comparison nor will it be complete, there may be information that I simply couldn’t find by just looking at the About pages and the FAQs. But if you’re interested in MOOCs, maybe you’ll find it helpful.

Criteria/Platform coursera FutureLearn Open2Study Iversity
Offered by/Location Worldwide, different universities UK/ Open University/ worldwide, different universities Open Universities Australia/different Australian universitites Germany/Europe: different universities.
Introduction to the site Good, well structured, English Good, well structured,
English
OK Good, well structured, in German and English
Subtitles/Transcripts/Languages Course transcripts, translations if available Yes, English Yes, English Some
Courses in different languages Yes, some Not yet, but planned No German, English, Russian
Offline viewing In apps After download No No
Videos downloadable Yes, most Yes, extra link Not easily, but on Youtube Not easily, but some are on youtube
Reading resources and study material available? On site or linked? Linked On-site articles Links Links to material
App for the program? Yes, two Not yet, but planned No No
Discussions how? Discussion forum Discussions with the
modules
Classroom forum module-based and general Special discussion section
Tutoring/Assistance? Yes, TAs monitor
forums
TAs monitor discussions Staff monitored Staff sometimes on discussion forum
Self-paced? Yes, both available No No No
Free certificate? For some courses No Yes, and badges Yes
Emphasis on certain disciplines? No, wide range No, wide range No, wide range No, wide range
Courses repeated? Yes, some Yes, some Yes, every five weeks Yes, some
Material available after the course ends? Not all, but most Yes Yes Some, for a limited time
Home Page https://www.coursera.org/ https://www.futurelearn.com/ https://www.open2study.com/ https://iversity.org/en

Criteria/Platform Open edX Stanford Alison
Offered by/Location MIT, Berkley, Harvard and more on edX platform Stanford University Ireland/worldwide: different universities
Introduction to the site OK OK Good
Subtitles/Transcripts/Languages Yes, in English Yes, in English No, but some text goes with the modules
Courses in different languages Some No Information not found
Offline viewing No No No
Videos downloadable Yes, and on Youtube Yes, videos, transcripts and slides No
Reading resources and study material available? On site or linked? Linked Wiki and lecture slides Notes
App for the program? No No, may make trouble on mobiles No
Discussions how? Discussion section Discussion forum Course forum
Tutoring/Assistance? TAs monitor discussions TAs Information not found
Self-paced? No No Yes
Free certificate? Yes Yes For some courses
Emphasis on certain disciplines? No, wide range No, wide range No, wide range
Courses repeated? Some Yes, some Information not found
Material available after the course ends? Yes, at least some Yes Yes
Home Page https://www.edx.org/ https://class.stanford.edu/ http://alison.com/
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