Articles about MOOCs—free online college courses open to anyone with a computer and an Internet connection—usually focus on their potential to be less-expensive alternatives to traditional college courses.
But, as a recent New York Times article points out, MOOCs can also serve as gateways to traditional, on-campus learning experiences. Specifically, many college-bound students have been using them to scout out potential schools.
How does this work?
MOOCs are typically offered by a specific college (through an online provider—e.g., Coursera, edX) and based on one of its traditional courses. While the MOOC course won’t be the same as the traditional version, it might be similar to it in several ways. For example, it will probably have a similar syllabus, be taught by one of the professors who teaches the in-person version, and, perhaps, be hosted in the same classroom in which that version is taught. All of this can give a prospective college student a taste of the academic life at that school.
Click here to read more on the Times.