Alone beach laptop GiorgioMontersino

Alone beach laptop GiorgioMontersino

 Photo Credit Giorgio Montersino

It’s winter. The holidays have just passed, and people are happily or unhappily reflecting on the year that has ended with thoughts of making 2015 better. Within a few weeks or months, people will be planning winter getaways to escape the cold and dark, so they can refresh their batteries. Here’s a better tip: don’t take a break, take a MOOC.

It isn’t a new coffee, though you can never have too many of those. No, a MOOC is a massive online open course. They’ve been around for years, but they are far too often overlooked as a source for professional development or personal fulfilment. Whether you’re looking to advance your career, change tracks, or looking to do something for yourself, you are likely to find a MOOC that suits your needs.


MOOCs tend to be shorter than traditional courses, are asynchronous (no live classes, so it suits your schedule), and are offered by real institutions like Harvard, Stanford and MIT among others. Did I mention that many MOOCs are free? That’s right! Free, as in you don’t need to pay to learn and can still include the course on your resume under Professional Development. See why I like them?

For those of you contemplating changing fields, you might consider taking a MOOC or two in your new area to see if you like it, and to gain some credibility when interacting with potential employers.

Looking to advance your career, but missing experience in key areas for that next step? A MOOC can help you build knowledge and competence in many management skills including finance, leadership, project management and conflict resolution.

If you just need a winter break, consider indulging one of your passions in a MOOC. Love dinosaurs? Want to write a novel? Interested in science & technology? Fancy yourself the next great foodie? There’s a MOOC for that and more. Sure, a vacation will give you some sun and fun for a week, but igniting your passion will have a longer lasting effect.

Most MOOCs are available for free (excluding Udacity which has a fee structure), but if you want a verified certificate then you will likely pay a nominal fee. Ready to get started? Search for your next adventure at Class Central, and happy learning!