Getting Ahead at Work with MOOCs

Working adults often don’t have the time and financial resources to return to school for professional and career advancement through academic degree programs. They may find meaningful benefits through enrolling in MOOCs or massive open online courses.

Who Uses MOOCs?

When first rolled out, MOOCs held the promise of equity in educational access. And they did, but maybe not in the way most in the education field expected. A recent study shows that in the last five years, the number of MOOCs has exploded, as has enrollment. While many figured that those seeking the equivalent of post-secondary degree content would be the primary beneficiaries, it’s become clear that working adults who complete MOOCs to get ahead at work may be reporting the strongest benefits.

In a recent study carried out by MOOC-provider Coursera, more than half of respondents said their goals in taking these online courses was to improve their employment prospects; and of the people who said they were taking classes to advance their careers, more than three-quarters said they had, in fact, seen some benefit.

What a MOOC Can Do For You

The evolution of MOOCs now includes the chance to earn one of the hundreds of verified credentials from course providers. Online course providers generally allow users to sign up and audit a class for free; however, if someone wants to earn a credential, there’s generally a fee involved, and sometimes an extra component to the course, such as a capstone project. Some sites offer what they call professional credentials, and that requires completion of a series of courses built around a theme.

One of the advantages of earning verified credentials is having something to “prove” a student completed the course. It serves as a third-party acknowledgment that a student did, in fact, do the work necessary to fulfill the requirements of a course. This matters when students want to put this coursework on a resume or use it in seeking advancement at work. Some MOOC-providers offer credentials that go a step further: edX offers a MicroMasters credential that invites students to apply their earned credential toward an academic degree program, speeding up their progress or perhaps saving them some money.

How Does a MOOC Work?

MOOC and online open-access courses focus on deeper knowledge of a topic (think art, opera, history, sociology) as well as instruction and development of practical skill sets (such as accounting principles or web development). Students generally have access to specially designed stand-alone courses developed by well-known universities around the world and offered through a single portal (the MOOC provider, like edX and Coursera) or full undergraduate or graduate academic courses where the material is placed online for student access, such as those offered by MIT’s OCW program.

Stand-alone courses may be self-directed or led by an instructor who provides lecture materials, assignments, and video content, and who may facilitate course progress. Academic courses typically include lecture notes in PDF or video, a syllabus with reading assignments, slides, quizzes, and answer keys as they were delivered to on-campus students during an academic term. Academic course materials do not typically offer any access to instructors; these courses are completely self-directed.

How to Choose a Course

Look for courses connected to an established school or company.  For example, Harvard and Yale offer open online courses, and edX offers courses affiliated with Microsoft and the New York Institute of Finance. On each course page, students can expect to find a course outline, objectives, a start date, course length, a description of prerequisites, time requirements (how many hours can a student expect to spend on the course), and tech requirements.

Read the course page carefully. Understand whether courses meet at set times online or are asynchronous, meaning that students can access course materials at any time. Many times, course descriptions include career information that will help learners determine if it’s appropriate for them: What are the goals and objectives of the course? Who is the course intended for? Is the course self-paced or instructor-led? Instructor bios and credentials can also tell prospective students if a course will be a good fit.

Determine if the free or audited course will satisfy employment or career needs or if the verified credential path is the way to go. This may depend on whether you want your work to “count” to a current employer, simply build skills to improve work performance and potential advancement, or if you want to use that course to show a prospective employer that you have the skills for the job.

Making the Most of the MOOC in the Workplace

Depending on the circumstances, how the MOOC is presented to an employer matters, a lot. There are several ways to include MOOCs and verified credentials (if earned) on a resume. It may be worth exploring how supportive an employer is of the MOOC for career development. Some companies already have relationships with Coursera or other similar sites for the benefit of their employees. LinkedIn allows users to add verified Coursera credentials to their profiles.


MOOCs have indeed sparked a major change in the field of education, and perhaps the greatest beneficiaries have been working adults seeking career advancement. These courses are available online for free through several portals and course providers, such as well-known universities; students who want to prove completion of a course can earn a verified credential for a fee. Working adults can use the knowledge and skills gained through these learning opportunities to get ahead at work and in their chosen career.

What Our Clients are Saying

Ben and the team at No Stop Content have tremendously benefitted my business. I have used several writing services, but No Stop is head and shoulders above the rest. In the past, I had to constantly rewrite articles, proofread them, and in the end I didn’t have the confidence to post them “as is”.

With Ben and the team at No Stop, the articles are consistently excellent, and best of all I never have to rewrite anything!

Jason Gibson

NoStop is my one-stop shop for new content! Every article they send back is a high-quality piece written along the SEO guidelines that I provided. A quick copy/paste for me onto our blog, and we’re on to the next article. Great team to work with, excellent communicators.

Since we started working together we’ve regularly collaborated on 1 or 2 pieces per week. And we plan to keep on rolling and enjoying the excellent content and increased organic traffic.

Brett Owens
Brett OwensCEO & Co-Founder of ChrometaChrometa
The real deal. I’ve been working in content marketing for years and I’ve been searching for a reliable content writing service to assist my clients. I’ve finally found the quality and expediency I need with
Brain Sparker
Brain SparkerContent Marketer

We needed a writer who not only understood social media and technology but could write intelligently about the subjects and give our target audience immediate results.

Ben has been phenomenal in his expertise and knowledge of the industry and we will continue working with him and No Stop in the future.

Al Twitty
Al TwittyRealty Biz NewsRealty Biz News

If you’re searching for affordable high-quality content that captivates and engages your readers, then I highly recommend

They are by far the best content writers I have found to date(8+ years marketing online). I have spent thousands on content over the years and have finally found my go to content writer.

Ever article I have requested not only met my exact requirements but also went above and beyond in quality.

Chris Busa
Chris BusaOwnerTotal Survival

We were writing regular updates on the site ourselves but were constantly falling behind.

Ben took over and now handles everything: writing our posts, editing the photos and writing our newsletter. Honestly, the end result is so much better than when we wrote it ourselves, I wish we had started this service before. Now everything is done, on time and looks great.

Damon Santelli
Damon SantelliFish Key West FloridaFish Key West Florida

Working with Ben from NoStop has been fantastic.  Since we had our site rewritten our orders have increased dramatically.

Ben also handles our newsletter which has really taken off. You can see an uptick in orders every time the newsletter goes out.

Sean Seaman
Sean SeamanOwnerEaton Street Seafood

As a past ghostwriter myself, I have high standards.

I was impressed with both the length & content of the article, which was well constructed, grammatically accurate, and flowed well on the topic from start to finish.

Steve Daley
Steve DaleyWebmaster

I have a little secret weapon in my digital marketing arsenal, and that my friends is NoStop Content! Talk about true professionals… they are responsive, on time, creative and deliver amazing copy all the time – every time. I just love working with smart people – the process is so much more delightful than the alternative. They simply “get it”. So glad I discovered you guys. You’re the best. Thanks, NoStop!

MikeCEOClear Business Group