Welcome back everyone, I have another interview style post for you today, this one is with the amazing Victoria Austin who talks all about an alternative choice to traditional University.
Victoria discusses the courses she studies online with MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) but I’ll let her explain it properly!
Hope you enjoy and this is certainly the ideal post if you’re a little unsure about whether University is for you.
“Hi, my name is Victoria Austin and I’m a lifestyle blogger from Devon. I enjoy gardening in my spare time and I also make lifestyle related videos to go on my YouTube channel. Learning is something I’ve been passionate about from a young age, to the point I used to be nicknamed the human sponge, so read on to find out more about the learning I’ve done online and off over the years.
I first discovered MOOCs from universities in 2014 and the first ever course I did on FutureLearn, I ended up becoming a Mentor when the course ran again a year later.
If you haven’t heard of a MOOC before it stands for Massive Open Online Course, they are often provided by universities to study for free (though some have optional paid upgrades like extended learning time, tests, certificates).
If you haven’t made the grades for university of if you’ve simply decided you want to go another route then this post might be useful for you.
The courses are often short introductory courses run over a number of weeks with the recommended weekly study time varying per course as well. There are a lot of different platforms out there, you just have to put MOOC into Google and loads of different sites pop up, there is such a variety of courses from universities all over the world.
I’ve studied a variety of subjects, shall I make a list? I kinda like lists so… These are the subject areas I have studied courses in on FutureLearn (one of the MOOC platforms)”:
- Planetary Science
- Digital Marketing
- Forensic Psychology
(How cool do those courses sound? – Imogen).
“I’ve done other courses too via The Open University’s free learning platform OpenLearn, I studied a selection of Law courses on there as well as another Psychology one!
In my opinion not everything needs an official certificate to be relevant.
I haven’t just done online courses, I’ve always been a bit of a self learner, I studied bookkeeping and maths from books but if we rewind a moment this whole self learning thing started before that, I also started teaching myself HTML & CSS coding back when I was a teenager, another great skill to put on the CV! I did try proper university, not at a bricks uni but online, it wasn’t really right for me though, I felt it was too structured and left after a month.
I didn’t actually do A Levels either, so instead a few years ago I spent time reading the classic novels I might have read if I had studied English at A Level, and more, which I think if that’s something you enjoy then that is also a great thing to do in your quest to becoming a self educated, well rounded learner.
I’m not sure courses like MOOC’s are well known, I mean I’ve seen them in at least one magazine but times are changing, technology is playing an ever bigger part in our day to day lives so why not learn on the go too? I think these courses are amazing how available they can be to everyone, they don’t have a massive list of prerequisites like a lot of standard university courses usually have. I’ve really enjoyed being able to study such a variety of courses, plus of course it helps that I love learning!
Even though they aren’t usually accredited the online courses can be listed on your CV which is a definite positive, potential employers have been very positive about them too.
Studying these sorts of courses is also great if you’re like me with interests in many different areas, or if you think you might like to study a certain subject via university but aren’t really sure then you can use these short courses to get a more informed opinion of the subject area. They may lead to great opportunities in their own right too (though it is rare to not be a student of the university itself to become a Mentor) if I hadn’t done the course I wouldn’t have become Mentor (on two courses now) one of which I set up a Facebook group for, which is another great experience to have.”
Make sure you check out the other posts in the series and in relation to university:
University: What I Wish I’d Known (Part One)
University: What I Wish I’d Known (Part Two)
University: What I Wish I’d Known (Part Three)
University: What I Wish I’d Known (Part Four)
Fresher’s Week, Friend or Foe?
University, 9 Years Ago; An Interview
University, 13 Years Ago; An Interview
University Saving Tips and Tricks, Part One
University Saving Tips and Tricks, Part Two
University Bookshelf Tour
My University Experience So Far