MOOCs for PR, marketing and …

One student who binged on his MOOC described it as being 'as good as Breaking Bad'.

One student who binged on his MOOC described it as being ‘as good as Breaking Bad’.

MOOCs are short, online university courses that provide a magnificent and cost-free means to sharpen skills or pursue a passion. They are changing the way we learn!

It makes sense to continue your professional development with high quality training but sometimes it is hard to find the time or money to do so. In that case you might like to check out what is on offer in the world of MOOCs (massive open online courses). They are open to anyone, the content is university level and they don’t cost a penny.

Compare that with online provision by the key professional associations. Short webinars from the Chartered Institute for Public Relations and the Public Relations Consultancy Association cost respectively £30 and £120. A CAM Diploma in Marketing Communications upwards of £2,200. Find out more: Online Training: PR & Marketing.

I have researched seven MOOCS (below) covering brands, marketing, digital analytics, research methods, story-telling, public speaking and negotiation. Some of them have imminent start dates, others you can do when ever you wish. Most have an option to be verified and gain a certificate. All of them should stimulate professional development.

So what is a MOOC?

MOOCs are university level short courses with a beginning and an end, delivered entirely online. They are open to anyone and they are free. The MOOC providers are not household names but the content creation and delivery comes from top universities worldwide and there are offerings in every subject area from sciences through to art and business.

I’ve taken half a dozen MOOCs on subjects ranging from song writing through to a history of soul beliefs. One of the joys is to be taught by great lecturers at some of the best universities in the world. My first and still best course was Buddhism & Modern Psychology at Princeton University – you can check that out on YouTube and below.

Done well, these courses can be very powerful. Typically they consist of lectures broken down into digestible chunks, which you can view when you want. There’s links to associated reading and viewing, quizzes to embed learning, discussion forums, and often a twitter feed and Facebook page to engage with other students. And you can do the work on any device – laptop or smart phone.

The content tends to be carefully constructed to get information across in a clear and engaging manner. And there is an interesting way of marking whereby you submit your work for peer review and in return mark four papers from your fellow students. Its really interesting to see other peoples’ work and marking it reinforces your own learning.

The downsides are minimal. One of my course provided interesting content but was just a selection of lectures posted on line. And you don’t have the same personal interaction with fellow students nor the live performance by a good lecturer; it’s more TV than theatre but still a lot more interesting than book study and knowledge spreads life wildfire.

MOOCs for PR & Marketing

Coursera Home PageCheck out some of the key MOOC providers and see what you can find to tickle your intellectual taste buds. This article The Best MOOC Provider: A Review of Coursera, Udacity and Edx is helpful  and you can search across all providers on MOOC List.

And now, here are seven MOOCs that may give you an edge in your professional life.

The Secret Power of Brands

What does your brand stand for? Understand the role of brands and brand management with a course based on the University of East Anglia and design agency Wolff Olins’ joint MSc in Brand Leadership. Starts June 1 for 6 weeks x 3 hours per week.

Storytelling for Change

Develop practical skills as a storyteller, using the elements of story to bring you closer to your audience. Acumen and The Ariel Group: From May 8 – June 26, 3-4 hours per week.

Digital Analytics for Marketing Professionals: Marketing Analytics in Theory

Learn the introductory theory and strategy behind marketing analytics. The brands, companies, and marketers who are going to be successful are those that know where the data is and what to do with it. University of Illinois: Starts May 25, 4 weeks x 10 hours per week.

Solid Science: Research Methods

Does your thought-leadership have integrity? The course is comparable to a university level introductory course on quantitative research methods in the social sciences, but has a strong focus on research integrity. University of Amsterdam: Starts August 31, 6 weeks x 4-8 hours per week.

Introduction to Public Speaking

Get accustomed to public speaking with a programme that lets you examine speeches through interactive practice; work through the unique traits of oral versus written communication; and prepare speeches that are easier to deliver and understand. University of Washington: Free and always open, 18 hours videos, quizzes, and peer assessments.

Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills

Course notes report that a student who binge watched this course said it was as good as Breaking Bad. Covers four steps to a successful negotiation: Plan Your Negotiation Strategy; Use Key Tactics for Success; Create a Contract; The End Game. University of Michigan: Free and always open 8.5 hours of videos

Introduction to Marketing

Covers branding strategies, customer-centric marketing strategy, and new market entry using a combination of lecture videos, quizzes and discussion. Wharton, University of Pennsylvania: On demand, 6 hours per week for 4 weeks.