Maximizing your learning from MOOCs: Sharing my personal experiences (I)

Bewerbungfotoby Ankit Khandelwal

My name is Ankit Khandelwal, a chemical engineer by education, multidisciplinary by interest and work. In 2012, I went ahead with my plan to study different aspects required for the future global manager. I was living in my home town, with almost no facilities to get this kind of education. With no resources to count on, MOOCs became the way through which I have grasped knowledge, shared ideas and practiced newly learned concepts in the real world. I have immersed very deeply into MOOC from past 2 years and hugely benefited from them. I am sharing my extensive learning experience, so that you all can also get maximum out of online education and MOOCs. This is part 1 of the series.

Getting started

Compared to traditional college studies, online education is very different. It requires self-initiative, determination and ability to adapt in maximizing your output from them. After spending 2 years with online education and taking many MOOCs (massive open online courses) from different platforms, I can offer some piece of advice.

Version 1

Choosing a course: If you already know what you want to study, then you do not need to think twice. Else, if you are new to MOOC then it can be a good idea to start a course in a familiar area or in the area you are too eager to explore.

  • Check your interest: Every course enlists syllabus and list of concepts, that are going to be covered. Just see if it is going to interest you or not. You do not need to just take traditional course, it can also be of future trends like ‘Data Analytics’ or ‘Photography’. You can also experiment with courses by trying something completely new and explore beauty of MOOC of exploring everything you try.

  • Time schedule: Unlike popular belief, I think MOOC can take more than time than prescribed. Course instructors are not aware of your level of understanding and they try to keep courses as easier to read as possible. Within 1-2 week, based on how your pacing with your course, you can modify your time allocation. You can make it as flexible as possible depending on the course time line.

Once started! Thanks to the online format, you can easily watch video lectures for 1-2 week to decide, if this course is suitable for you need. Are you able to understand what is being taught? Are you able to gain knowledge you are looking for?ask such questions to yourself. Although it is completely fine to leave a course, but my advice to do it as early as possible and if not than try to stick to any course till the end.

Synchronizing the time zone: It is possible that course time zone is different from your own time zone. So, try to develop some mechanism to adjust with time difference and practice it for few days. After that you will be habitual for it. For example, my operating system gives me 2 additional clocks to put on the desktop. I have changed time zone of one and matched with the time zone of the course. If you observe them daily, within few days you can understand the time difference and will not miss any deadlines, assignments. You can think of any other method for your own schedule.

About me

My name is Ankit Khandelwal and I am from India. From 2012, I was working on my ‘Envisioning 21st century global manager’ project. It is my own management study program, drafted after careful analysis of my interests, future market trends and required skill set to become a global manager/leader of 21st century. I have taken taken courses at MIT Open Course Ware, OCWC (Open Course Ware Consortium), OYC (Open Yale Courses), OLI (Open Learning Initiative), Organizations (WTO, Copenhagen Business Center) as well as on MOOC platforms (Alison, Coursera, edX, Open2study, NovoEd) as part of my ‘Envisioning 21st century global manager’ project. From past 22-24 months, this was my full time work, where I have taken 20+ courses from different universities (general management as well as interdisciplinary sectors like trade negotiations, urban planning, public policy, climate change, emergency management etc), tried to self-learn 3 foreign languages and extensively studied newspaper from 8 different places for regular business happenings around the globe. I have tried to expand my outreach by reaching every corner of the world through projects, study of the regions or through expansion of networks. Equally important was my study of different cultures to prepare myself for negotiating/working in the multicultural environment (political/social and ground realities). You will hear more about it in future with the title ‘Power of Online Education’.

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