I’m excited to present another student profile. Joris is from Utrecht, Netherlands. He reached out to me to describe an ambitious MOOC course load, focused on business and education – he’s taking more than 10 MOOCs at once. I was surprised to find out that Joris is simultaneously enrolled as a university student in not one but two degree programs! Below he shares his reasoning for taking so many courses and some great tips for MOOC students taking a full course load.
What made you decide to take so many MOOCs when you are already enrolled in two degree programs?
"I am about to finish my studies so I still have a relatively large amount of time. Once I really start my career this time will very likely decrease by quite a bit. Therefore, this is the perfect time to do 10+ MOOCs parallel. Although I am indeed in a degree programme, there is also a trend going on that 'just having a degree' is not enough. Any opportunity to something outside of the norm is good for your employability."
How did you choose business and education as fields to focus on in your coursework?
"Business (including finance) is, together with teaching, computer science, humanities and the natural sciences, one of the big categories of courses that are offered. I did not see the pay-off for the humanities (not known for their great economic potential), the natural sciences (either too basic or not relevant for me), or computer science (there are other ways to learn this and the topics were too advanced for me at that time). Teaching is fairly obvious as it is in line with my formal education. Furthermore, I think in order to be an advocate for online education you need to be an expert to some degree on this topic.
"Regarding the choice for business, I found myself in a business/economic/political environment while I was working on my thesis but did not know that much about it. Then I read the famous Poet&Quants blog post about the MOOC MBA and thought it might make an interesting experiment. My intention is not so much getting an MBA equivalent but rather acquiring new useful knowledge. Doing business MOOCs also gives me a new field from which I can get ideas if I need to solve a problem. "
Joris’s Tips For Managing a Full MOOC Course Load
Tell others – colleagues, fellow students, friends, teachers and parents – what you are doing. Most people do not know what a MOOC is and might wonder what you are doing (especially if you do more than 2-3 MOOCs in parallel).
Get a buddy for each course you do. Knowing someone else who does the same course can motivate you. There is no real need to meet but just knowing who someone who is in the same course can help (at least for me).
In many platforms you can modify the playback speed. If you can manage to keep up it will save you time viewing lectures (I usually play videos between 1.25x and 2.00x.) Note this can have a downside as well: I sometimes think my real life professors are talking slow and I wish I could make them talk faster.
As with everything in life, balance your course load with your other activities as it is easy to spend all your time on MOOCs (there is just too much interesting stuff). What is a good balance will vary from person to person. Today, I decided to un-enroll from a couple upcoming courses as I realized it would conflict with other (real-life) activities.
Put the skills you learn on your CV instead of the individual courses (as you suggested in one of your previous posts).
Keep all the things you submitted for a peer assignment on your local computer. Instead of just submitting also make a copy in a text file (or any other format). This allows you to develop a portfolio which you can use later to show your work.
Joris's Current Courses (all from Coursera)
- An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python (Rice University)
- Organizational Analysis (Stanford University)
- Competitive Strategy (Ludwig-Maximilians Universitat Munchen (LMU))
- Better Leader, Richer Life (University of Pennsylvania, Wharton)
- An Introduction to Marketing (University of Pennsylvania, Wharton)
- Maps and the Geospatial Revolution (Pennsylvania State University)
- The Global Student’s Introduction to U.S. Law (University of Florida)
- Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence (Case Western Reserve University)
- Analyzing Global Trends for Business and Society (University of Pennsylvania, Wharton)
- Coaching Teacher: Promoting Changes that Stick (Match Teacher Residency)
- Foundation for Teaching and Learning 3: Learners and Learning (Commonwealth Educational Trust)
- Foundation for Teaching and Learning 6: Introduction to Student Assessment (Commonwealth Educational Trust)
- The Changing Global Order (Leiden University)
Joris's Completed Course Work
- Microeconomics Principles (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
- Critical Perspectives on Management (IE Business School)
- Social and Economic Networks: Models and Analysis (Stanford University)
- Surviving Your Rookie Year of Teaching: 3 Key Ideas & High Leverage Techniques (Match Teacher Residency)
- Critical Thinking in Global Challenges (The University of Edinburgh)
- Foundations of Teaching for Learning 1: Introduction (Commonwealth Education Trust)
- Advanced Instructional Strategies in the Virtual Classroom (University of California, Irvine)
- Foundations of Business Strategy (University of Virginia, Darden)
- Foundations of Teaching for Learning 4: Curriculum (Commonwealth Education Trust)
- Property and liability: an introduction to law and economics (Wesleyan University)
- The Power of Macroeconomics: Economic Principles in the Real World (University of California, Irvine)
- The Power of Microeconomics: Economic Principles in the Real World (University of California, Irvine)
- Gamification (University of Pennsylvania)
- Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies: The First Step in Entrepreneurship (University of Maryland, College Park)
- Globalization of Business Enterprise (IESE Business School)
- Introduction to International Criminal Law (Case Western Reserve University)
- Foundations of Teaching for Learning 2: Being a Teacher (Commonwealth Education Trust)
- The Data Scientist’s Toolbox (Johns Hopkins University)
- Foundations of Teaching for Learning 5: Planning for Teaching and Learning (Commonwealth Education Trust)
- Understanding Europe: Why It Matters and What It Can Offer You (HEC Paris)
- Financial Markets (Yale University)
- How to Build a Startup
- The Design of Everyday Things
- Introduction to the Music Business (BerkleeX)