Learning is not limited to a single, specific phase in life, that of the years at school, but also happens in different contexts, over the course of a lifetime. With its strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training, the European Union supports the concept of lifelong learning by coordinating cooperation between Member States on training and formal, non-formal, and informal education.
Therefore an extensive variety of educational platforms have been developed that offer courses which spread from business and computer science to public health and marketing. One of the most notable is Coursera.
What is Coursera?
Founded in 2012 by professors of Stanford University, Coursera has gradually accumulated a catalog of hundreds of courses from elite institutions such as Stanford, Duke, Michigan and HEC Paris. Coursera possesses the largest and most eclectic catalog for online higher education.
Students may enroll in either self-paced (on-demand) or timed classes, ranging between four and twelve weeks.
Each course includes several hours of video lessons each week, graded assessments, quizzes, and forum participation. In those well-administered forums, students interact with peers across the world and share your ideas them, which is very helpful in implementing one’s projects.
Students can access any course on their smartphones through Coursera’s mobile app or through the platform’s website on their computer.
Coursera offers their users three different learning options. The student can choose between single courses, specializations (a series of courses designed to improve a single skill) and degree programs. While courses last a few weeks, specialization programs typically take between 4 to 6 months to complete, while degree programs can take up to three years.
Below is a list of the top courses and specializations of 2018 shared by Coursera, as measured by total enrollment.
Machine Learning from Stanford University.
Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects from The University of California, San Diego.
The Science of Well-Being from Yale University.
Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies from Princeton University.
Algorithms, Part I from Princeton University.
English for Career Development from The University of Pennsylvania.
Financial Markets from Yale University.
Introduction to Psychology from The University of Toronto.
Python for Everybody from University of Michigan.
Data Science from Johns Hopkins University.
Applied Data Science with Python from University of Michingan.
Google IT Support Professional Certificate from Google.
Advanced Machine Learning from National Research University Higher School of Economics.
Improve Your English Communication Skills from Georgia Institute of Technology.
Business Foundations from University of Pennsylvania.
Architecting with Google Cloud Platform from Google Cloud.
Excel Skills for Business from Macquarie University.
Verified certificates and specializations provide proof of participation, which can be shared via LinkedIn. Coursera courses are free unless you want a course completion certificate. Even if you want a certificate, these courses won’t cost you a fortune.
Keep in mind though that since Coursera offers expertly curated classes created by some of the most well-respected educational institutions in the world, those classes typically cost more compared to other educational platforms based online.
There are several reasons why online learning is a more attractive option compared to traditional methods. This is because online courses are more affordable compared to traditional learning and can be accessible from a variety of devices like smartphones, tablets and computers. Another reason is that online courses almost never force deadlines to students and last less compared to traditional courses offered at universities. Coursera’s digital classes are inexpensive, and the duration of the courses is reasonable. In addition Coursera gives you the flexibility to learn at your own pace without compromising with your schedule and lifestyle. Considering that GenZ has a limited attention span, a narrow badge and does extended use of mobile phone, Coursera can make the education process more appealing and accessible to young learners.
Flipgrid is a video discussion platform which allows the sharing of user-generated videos, among groups of people. It is currently used in over 50,000 classrooms to empower students and ignite discussion.
What is it?
The process is really easy. In Flipgrid, teachers post discussion topics to which students then reply using videos. Learners can pause and flip their camera while recording, add pictures or documents, trim unlimited clips and include a whiteboard, video styles, text, emoji, inking to their stories. Teachers and students can post replies to videos, like them and provide feedback to their peers. Every video along with its replies forms a Grid. Grids are the meeting place for classrooms, schools, departments or any learning community to discuss specific topics. Those Grids can be easily embedded in a variety of other platforms such as Wordpress, Moodle etc.
Toondoo is an easy-to-use web-based application for creating comic books. That is why it is preferred by educators. It is so easy that even Elementary school children are able to use it without any issues.
Children are asked to imagine and make their own little stories by cultivating their metacognitive skills such as creativity and imagination.
Help your EFL-ESL learners improve their pronunciation and accent with Vocaroo
Vocaroo is a free service that allows users to create audio recordings without the need to install any software. You don't even have to create an account to use Vocaroo. All you need to provide is a microphone
Vocaroo is a particularly useful tool especially for educators that teach teach foreign languages. It is available at no cost and allows the voice of the user to be recorded, allowing him to download the soundtrack to his computer, send it as an e-mail or share it directly on a social network (Charles & Dickens, 2012).
Its possible uses in the learning process are many, ranging from creating Podcasts, transmitting messages between students and teachers, reading short stories, and providing feedback to third parties (Charles & Dickens, 2012; TeachersFirst, n.d.).
Depending on the activity that will be requested by the student, the tool can function as either constructivist or behavioral, but the widest range of exploitable activities can be found under the "behaviourism umbrella"
Several studies have shown that using Vocaroo as a means of enhancing students' oral speech has ultimately led not only to the improvement of this but to the general perception and expressiveness of its users (Kim, 2014). Students' language skills also improve as pupils can repeat the activity as they wish and as many times as they want, while promoting self-assessment building on new knowledge, giving them learning autonomy (Kim, 2014; Budaghyan, 2015).
One of the great advantages of Vocaroo is its ease of use as it does not even need to create an account to use the service, making it extremely easy to be used even by the most inexperienced person(Charles & Dickens, 2012; TeachersFirst, n.d.).
Use Vocaroo at https://vocaroo.com/
Budaghyan, S. (2015). Technology Teacher Training in a Remote Region of Armenia. Procedure - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 197 (7th World Conference on Educational Sciences), 197-200. doi: 10.1016 / j.sbspro.2015.07.12
Charles, K.J., & Dickens, V. (2012). Closing the Communication Gap. Teaching Exceptional Children, 45 (2), 24-32.
Kim, S. H. (2014). Developing autonomous learning for oral proficiency using digital storytelling. Language Learning & Technology 18 (2), 20-35. Retrieved from http://llt.msu.edu/issues/june2014/action1.pdf
TeachersFirst. (n.d.) Vocaroo. Retrieved Oct 15, 2017 by https://teachersfirst.com/single.cfm?id=9921