As expats, we use the internet to keep in touch with loved ones and (ex) colleagues. We watch Netflix for our favourite series, let Amazon deliver packages to our home away from home and use AirBnB, Uber and Booking.com to facilitate our travel needs. Why not use the internet to study online too? The growing availability of fast internet is also giving us as citizens of the world access to Studying online. In this series I will explore the world of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and the possibilities they offer to develop yourself in knowledge or skills- and how to become a succesful online student.
Advantages of online studies
Location independence/ Study anywhere, anytime
Always wanted to go to Harvard or Oxford University? A tremendous interest in photography, Spanish language or starting your own handcrafted chocolate business? Living far away from your favourite university or in a place with limited options for study or skills advancement is no longer an impediment to studying. Online studying is also a solution when moving to another country or when in a completely different time zone from a particular institution.
As expats, we sometimes have quiet periods, for example when we find ourselves working in July while all our friends or even our family are on holiday. And sometimes we have visitors for weeks on end. Or we are taking regular business trips. Many online studies will allow you to plan around peak periods. For example study extra hard from September to November in order to have both December and January off for holidays.
A job for life is no longer a reality for most of us. Employability is a key word, continuously developing your skills and knowledge in order not to become obsolete in this rapidly evolving, globalising world. I can’t count the number of expat friends who repatriated or moved on much quicker than anticipated due to shifting business needs or changes in personal circumstances. Your employer may wind down operations in the country where you are based without having a place for you back at headquarters. If you are not formally working abroad but mostly taking care of the children, online studies will also help you when you go back on the job market at a later stage. Keeping your CV fresh with the help of online study helps to increase or maintain your employability.
Sense of achievement
While taking an online course can give you direction and focus in your days or evenings, finishing an online course will give you a sense of achievement, a measurable success. You will feel good about yourself. It will look good on your resume too.
Yes, there are downsides to online studies too. For one, you have to motivate yourself to continue, in MOOCs there are usually no attendance requirements. It can feel isolated too, like you are the only one studying while everybody else is having fun. But you can overcome this!
How to become a succesful online student? Stay tuned for ways to not only start online studies but also finish them successfully- and where to find the best online course for you.