MOOCs have become the best bet for online tutoring. It has also provided jobs for several online tutors in Nigeria and abroad and has become a booming business for universities.

Since the event of COVID-19, more Nigerian students have taken to learning courses online. Indeed, MOOCs have brought with it a lot of benefits, so much that certain companies and parastatals recommend some MOOCs for their staff.

At first glance, MOOC online tutoring may look like it is only suitable for university undergraduates, postgraduates and learned adults. Is it possible for primary and secondary school students to benefit from this?

In this article, we will learn the history of MOOCs, who they are designed for, and how everyone can enjoy its benefits.

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MOOCs have provided jobs for tutors and lower tuition for learners. Photo Credit: Unsplash

Tutoring Online: A Brief History of MOOCs

Before MOOCs came into being, the primary way of learning in the 20th century,  asides physical classes and textbooks, was through radio and TV. The aim was to make sure that people who didn't have formal learning could listen or watch classes for free and learn. It was also designed for learners who had missed a class; they could watch their lectures on TV or listen in on the radio.

MOOCs became a lot more advanced and in 2008, it reached a higher level. The very first virtual education experience has been accounted for in varying ways.

Some sources believe that the first online tutor class appeared at Athabasca University, Canada. It set the trend for several universities in Canada and America.

Other sources believe that Stephen Downes and George Siemens created the first online tutor course at the University of Manitoba, Canada.

While others strongly work with the fact that the first online teaching was conducted by Sebastian Thrun as part of a pedagogic experiment.

In any case, the first broadcast of online education resources happened in 2002 at (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in the US. Nowadays, more top universities offer or participate in MOOCs.

What Are MOOCs?

As parents, teachers or pupils new to this word, MOOCs are simply teaching programmes that are published online. Technically, a student with access to a computer and the internet can have hours of uninterrupted learning online.

The original intension of MOOC sessions was live. However, it has been diversified with pre-recordings of several lessons.

Students can now study without having to be present for the live feed version of their online lessons. Indeed, pre-recorded video education is not as interactive as their live version, but students still have access to learning from teachers with the best teaching practices.

A lot of times, the course you'd like to study alongside many other lessons, are a collaboration between universities. If you'd like to have an idea of what MOOCs generally include, see below:

  • Some videos can show a teacher teaching a class.
  • Tutoring sessions also come with exercises.
  • Forums and Instant messaging.
  • Several Powerpoints or presentations complementing each lesson.

There are so many perks of using MOOCs for online academic support. For starters, they are mostly free (if not, they request little tuition) and very accessible; and they offer a wide range of subjects from science subjects to language courses. If you have access to the internet, you can access these classes by connecting to the platforms where they are being hosted.

You also don't have to worry about the time or your location, you can access quality teaching, learn at your pace and get the right academic support all at the comfort of your home. Now that they exist as several apps, you can start a course on your mobile phone. These are just a few of the reasons why MOOCs are so revered.

Online tutoring has also made sure that each student is responsible for their training. Unlike several cases where a student gets a private tutor to motivate them, you'll need to muster all the motivation that can work for an online lesson.

One of the reasons why a student would need personal support is because some MOOCs have a lifespan. It means that a subject or a course can become unavailable when the lesson is finished, or in some cases, you'd have to wait for the time the next lesson goes live. Technically a student would have to learn a course on time, especially if the course has a limited time-frame.

An online lesson is also packed with exercises, tests, assignments and other education-related work. Some MOOCs also give you deadlines which you're expected to meet. Each subject can be an hour or more and covers language courses such as English or other foreign languages and science courses such as maths and chemistry.

Although this form of online tutoring does not offer degrees that are as revered or recognised like university learning, it's likely that they will in the future. Here are some MOOCs Nigerians can read up on or find out more about:

  • Udemy
  • Coursera
  • FutureLearn
  • edX

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Nigerian learners can now access more standardized teaching through online courses. Photo Credit: Unsplash

Are There Tutoring Websites That Offer MOOCs for Primary and Secondary School Students?

Traditional MOOCs aren't designed for students in primary school. As you may have discovered, MOOCs are mostly for university-level learners interested in using the platform to study for a fresh course or a subject they are currently learning.

A primary school student is most times too young to be in charge of their own training. Even in cases of home tutoring online, parents are tasked to stay with their children to ensure that they study.

For the most part, a child would do well with the services of a private teacher that does face to face sessions.

It's very unlikely for a child to be interested in an online subject that demands that they watch it on their own.

However, there are several online video resources available for every child. As parents, if you intend to use MOOCs for your child, make sure you're there to guide them. With Udemy offering coding courses for children, it's likely for kids to grow their technical skills at a very early age.

MOOCs are also available for secondary school students. Unlike primary learners, pupils in the secondary level have several tutors that teach science and language courses. So, they will be a lot more familiar with MOOCs than younger learners.

Platforms like EdX and Coursera offer introductory courses for senior high school learners preparing for the university. Unlike the primary learners, they need the help of their tutors or guardians a lot less. While MOOCs may require a bit of getting used to, secondary level learners can benefit in the following ways:

  • MOOCs are a great way of discovering and practising new skills.
  • It serves as a good platform to prepare for the university.
  • Asides skills, it serves as an academical complement. For instance, a student can take extra MOOC courses if they are lagging in maths or English.
  • It helps them stay aloof or catch up with studies during school holidays.
  • After classroom hours, they can use MOOCs to further their understanding of what they studied in class.

For learners who are not in the university, you can still use MOOCs if you want. Every year, MOOCs are becoming a lot more open and while a tutor can't always answer any question you have in realtime, you can leave a comment on their YouTube channels where you meet people with similar interests.

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A classroom tutor can get jobs as an online tutor for MOOCs. Photo Credit: Unsplash

How MOOCs Have Changed The Course Of Learning In Nigeria

The online business of academics and education, in general, is slowly increasing in Nigeria. More learners are getting better grades and increasing their knowledge with the help of MOOCs. Tutors now have the opportunity to hone their skills in their specialised courses.

With at least an hour, a student can get a better understanding of challenging topics in compulsory courses like English and maths. Not only that, but MOOCs have also improved the reading and understanding culture amongst learners.

Most pupils do not just want to read and pass, they are looking for so much more, to boost their knowledge capacities.

Learners who want more help in understanding a course can also use certified tutoring websites. Superprof, for instance, has a wide range of private tutors that offer face to face home classes as well as webcam classes.

Online tuition is also affordable. You can get a teacher or tutor to teach you for as low as ₦1,000.

Are you looking for new vocational skills needed to help you secure jobs? Superprof also offer services in non-academic courses. You can also trust that the tuition for a tutor in this category is also affordable.

More than just providing jobs for tutors all around the globe, MOOCs have greatly improved literacy levels throughout the world. MOOCs accounts for thousands of learners every month and it's just getting started!

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