The Pitfalls of Free Online Open Courses

Online open courses, also known as opens courseware, are a great resource for students. These open courses allow you to gain knowledge in various areas of academia without paying the heavy price. In fact, many of these open courses are available through major universities such as MIT, Harvard and Yale. Though there are several benefits to taking these courses, there are some severe pitfalls as well. These pitfalls are not meant to discourage students from attending these courses, they are meant to notify the student of issues that may arise after taking the courses.

College Course Credit

The open courses do not offer college credit. These courses are free and can be taken by anyone at any time. However, they will not count towards your academic standing, college progress or become transferrable to the program of your choice. If you are interested in taking these courses, they can enhance the knowledge you already have or offer new knowledge in a particular field. If you are looking for college credit from these courses, you should look for online courses that can transfer to your current program and that offer 1 college credit, or cc, or 3 college credits per course.

Employment Options

Depending on the type of open course ware or free online open course the student takes, they may be considering using that course to gain a higher level of employment. Though this may work with certain jobs, the truth is the student should check with the employer to ensure that the course will be accepted. In many cases, the employer will look on the undertaking of the course positively, but that does not mean the course will be accepted towards the benefit of a higher employment option within the company. Certain courses, such as computer courses, will usually be accepted depending on the employer and the age of the curriculum presented within the course.

Seminar versus Coursework

In some cases the coursework performed in a free open course may be viewed as a seminar by an employer. This is a double edged sword for the student. Whereas the seminar outlook could potentially lead the student into a higher paying job within a company, it could also simply be listed as an accomplishment. As an accomplishment it can eventually help with promotions, but it would not be able to garner any new or higher level position with the company.

The truth is, free online open courses are a great way to increase knowledge and skills. Even if they do not land a student a higher paying position within a company, they can be listed on a resume. This will show a potential employer the person at least attempted to gain higher knowledge for the job. In some cases, this will pay off. However, the student should keep in mind that the coursework may end up being for their own knowledge rather than a successful attempt at a higher paying job within a current company. Either way, the open course coursework can lead to recognition that is valuable to the student.

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