Meet Alison and Other Magnificent MOOCs


The blossoming revolution in online education continues to deliver plentiful technical training of all kinds to a global audience. Thanks to the growth of Massive, Open Online Courses (MOOCs), those students willing to dispense with certificates of completion, graded exams, and so forth, can sample widely across the educational spectrum.


And while some MOOCs have fees, much of this educational bonanza is available at zero cost to learners, except for the time required to work through materials, and the costs involved in obtaining a computer to use for learning, and a working Internet connection to use while learning. There's some pretty incredible stuff out there, in fact.


Alison As a Case in Point


Just for grins, I looked into the materials on offer through Alison, an online global learning community based in Ireland. They claim a user/learner base of 8 million around the world, and their aim is to help those people "develop essential, certified workplace skills."


Although Alison is just one of many such online learning communities springing up around learning platforms like edX, it's interesting and informative to dig into what they make available to all comers at no charge.


Here's a curated collection of items under two of my favorite headings: Digital Literacy & IT Skills, and also Personal Development & Soft Skills.


Digital Literacy & IT Skills
How to Create Your First Website
Fundamentals of Google Android Development
Fundamentals of Network Security
Introduction to C Programming
Introduction to Information Technology
Introduction to Programming with Python
Introduction to Cloud Computing
Introduction to Computer Science
javaScript and jQuery
Digital Communication Networks
Systems Engineering
Google Analytics
IT Management – Software and Databases
How the Internet Works


Personal Development & Soft Skills
Introduction to Time Management
Biology and Behaviour in Psychology
Smarter Learning – Improve Your Study Skills and Practices
Job Search Skills – Preparing your Resume and Cover Letter
Fundamentals of Business Law
Introduction to Contracts in Law


The most interesting thing about the Alison offerings is that one could derive a reasonably complete curriculum for either or both of an Associate's or Bachelor's degree in Computer Science amidst its offerings. And, in fact, Alison lists the following items in its comprehensive list of Diploma Courses:


Laptop learning

? C# Programming
? Computer Networking
? Databases
? E-Business
? Information Technology
? Operations Management
? Programming
? Project Management
? Six Sigma
? Social Media Techniques
? Statistics and Web Development


That's a wide range of IT-related disciplines and topics from which to choose, and suggests an equally broad array of career options for newbies, career-changers, and experience IT pros alike.


Outside the embrace of Alison, there are many other such programs out there. Online Course Report follows this space and offers all kinds of rankings and ratings.


Their 50 Most Popular MOOCs of All Time is always worth a visit, if only to see which courses are drawing global interest and participation.


Some things are certain, though: MOOCs offer tremendous coverage, a wide range of options and choices, and tremendous value for the costs involved. Sometimes, they even offer the opportunity to take courses from world-class universities and big name professors, too.


Anyone considering training for IT career development or enhancement would be well-advised to start checking these options, early and often.


Would you like more insight into the history of hacking? Check out Calvin's other articles about historical hackery:
About the Author

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed also writes on certification topics for Tech Target, ComputerWorld and Win10.Guru. Check out his website at, where he also blogs daily on Windows 10 and 11 topics.