MOOCS what are they and how do they compare to other IT online training options?

by HSG on Dec 09, 2013 in Articles from Software Fans

 Unlike traditional online courses that charge a fee, limit enrollment and provide credit or certification, Moocs (massive open online courses) are usually free or low cost and can host hundreds of  thousands global participants.  Although MOOC have been around for years in the form of collective techie learning gatherings, participation in 2012 has ballooned at a rapid pace likened to FaceBook in its heyday.  According to The Year of the MOOCarticle in the New YorkTimes, edX, a nonprofit start-up backed by Harvard and MIT, had 370,000 registrants in the fall of its first official courses. This paled in comparison to the amount of students that Courseraattained in its first year of online learning opportunities, 1.7 million!

Will MOOCs Replace education as we know it?

Teaching You Tools to Become Empowered
To build a successful business and career, you must always keep up with changes in the IT Marketplace. AWS, Office 365, LinkedIn, Sales Force, SEO, Social Media are just a few examples of where knowledge is a huge factor for success.
Training with HSG addresses your knowledge gaps and provides you with the requisite tools to outpace the competition.

Like any new trend, massive participation in online classes has its challenges. Lynda Weinman has ample experience when pointing out that they are by no means a replacement for formal education.  As a former digital animator, special effects designer and classroom college teacher, Linda paved the path for an earlier version of MOOC education in the mid 90’s when she founded Lynda.comas an aide to her own students. Over four million students and 2,200 courses later she’s confident when clarifying that many of the collegespartnered with use the tutorials as added features to their existing courses.  When asked in an interview with ReadWriteBuilders, if high technical companies look at online programs in terms of advancement as a supplement to traditional education or as a way for people to further their careers, Lynda feels that “it’sjust one example of something that you can do to enhance your attractiveness to potential employers. But [it’s also important to have] a portfolio and body of work, references that actually work out, showing that you had success in the past.”

MOOC Benefits:

·         You work at your own pace and time. It allows one to review more difficult concepts

·         Depending on the provider, it’s possible to join a study group, online or connect locally for classes. Studies show that more people complete programs if they are part of a cram session.

·         Compared to traditional education, new courseware becomes available sooner, especially in technologies that require updates such as Adobe Systems.

·         The software, in certain cases is programmed to look for mistakes in exercises and guides students with corrections.


MOOC Challenges:

·         Instructors (if there are any) can’t possibly respond to individual students due to the massive volumes

·         Grading or progress assessment is often left to a group of “other” students from different walks of life, education and understanding. This presents a problem in areas such as IT where proper feedback is vital. 

·         Cheating is quite common. An example, David Patterson, a professor at the University of California, Berkley who teaches a software engineering course, says, “We found groups of 20 people in a course submitting identical homework.” 

·         Courses are predominantly not credited. You have to decide how much time you are willing to put into any one topic.

·         Classes have a rather low level of student completion.  50%-80% drop out before the course ends.

·         Without personal contact with instructors and peers, students are prone to reduce their level of effort (no one’s watching)


Typical Technology Based Learning Tools and Methods:

Tutorials areusually videos offered as an online program or via CD-ROM and allow students to progress by completing quizzes and competency assessments.


Web Conferences and Webinars are simultaneous meetings in a virtual environment.  It can be orchestrated by single or multiple facilitators and archived for various uses.


Online Forums or Bulletin Boards allow individuals to post and participate in threaded discussions in specific subjects. Forums may be self-moderated or moderated by an instructor.


Electronic Mailing Lists (listservs) aredifferent from online forums in that messages are received through e-mail and are not communally archived.


Wikis and Virtual Collaborative Workspaces are collaborative work efforts where members share a virtual space on the web and share, edit, and add documents.


Blogs (Weblog) are online journals that are either personal or newsworthy topics encouraging readers to reply to posts.


Simulations are ways to role-play in plots through simple or complex interactive games that are based on real life scenarios.


Goal-Based Scenarios are simulative exercises with a goal in mind such as pursuing a well defined mission or assignment.  These performances are designed to hone in on specific skills in order to learn.


Gaming usually involves players in complex interactive games that track learning objectives and outcomes.


Learning Management Systems (LMSs) are mostly designed to register, track and deliver content to students on their progress and skill assessment for instructors.  LMS’s commonly issue course materials through different publishers and providers.

Integrated Learning Systems (ILSs) are more specific in its subject matter and unlike LMS’s are not designed to handle learning objects from dissimilar sources. They are more equipped with hardware tools that help monitor progress, keep records, and store user information files.


Alternative training/learning courseware in IT

Acquisition of new skills has become an integral part improving ones job performance. This is particularly true in Information Technology.  As software developers strive to keep up with current trends in the work place, they find that institutions for which they work for have increasingly higher demands. It’s no longer sufficient to play a small role within an organization that is competing globally for their services.

The most effective learning programs are those that include both cognitive and interpersonal skills, followed by skills or tasks that are easily attained.  There is documented evidence that training activities have a positive impact on the performance in productivity, accuracy and efficiency of individuals and teams.


Online and onsite IT course providers such as HSGoffer the simplicity of a virtual environment, tailor to a smaller group and are hands-on industry experts. The best time to combine the two styles of learning is when training meets both an organization and employee’s needs.

other blog entries

Course Directory [training on all levels]

Upcoming Classes
Gain insight and ideas from students with different perspectives and experiences.

Interesting Reads Take a class with us and receive a book of your choosing for 50% off MSRP.

did you know? HSG is one of the foremost training companies in the United States

Information Technology Training that enables companies to build better applications and expertly manage the software development process.

Our courses focus on two areas: the most current and critical object-oriented and component based tools, technologies and languages; and the fundamentals of effective development methodology. Our programs are designed to deliver technology essentials while improving development staff productivity.

Personalized courses for unique business and technology needs

An experienced trainer and faculty member will identify the client's individual training requirements, then adapt and tailor the course appropriately. Our custom training solutions reduce time, risk and cost while keeping development teams motivated. The Hartmann Software Group's faculty consists of veteran software engineers, some of whom currently teach at several Colorado Universities. Our faculty's wealth of knowledge combined with their continued real world consulting experience enables us to produce more effective training programs to ensure our clients receive the highest quality and most relevant instruction available. Instruction is available at client locations or at various training facilities located in the metropolitan Denver area.

Upcoming Classes

consulting services we do what we know ... write software

Design and Development
Application lifecycle management
We generate use cases, UML documentation, architect the system, create an object model, iteratively develop the system, unit and system test and modularize where necessary. These types of engagements are typically longterm and, almost always, incorporate a variety of software technologies.
If you are in need of expertise but only require the assistance of one or two engineers, the Hartmann Software Group can be of help. Instead of procuring talent by way of a placement agency who is likely to contact us, come to the Hartmann Software Group directly. You may realize some savings.
The best way to learn is by doing.

The coaching program integrates our course instruction with hands on software development practices. By employing XP (Extreme Programming) techniques, we teach students as follows:

Configure and integrate the needed development tools

MOntitor each students progress and offer feedback, perspective and alternatives when needed.

Establish an Action plan to yield a set of deliverables in order to guarantee productive learning.

Establish an Commit to a deliverable time line.

Hold each student accountable to a standard that is comparable to that of an engineer/project manager with at least one year's experience in the field.

These coaching cycles typically last 2-4 weeks in duration.

Provide Expertise
Services for your business growth.
With the introduction of smart devices, e-marketplaces, electronic forms, SEO practices, big data, virtual office environments, media streaming and so much more, there is hardly a business whose livelihood is not, in some way, dependent upon the inclusion of such software functionality into its online presence, work environment and product offerings. Such inclusion often presents a complex array of challenges that are far beyond the expertise of the business as it demands an understanding of technological options, modular decomposition, backend systems integration and web services. Most importantly, the business requires IT talent and expertise; this is where the Hartmann Software Group shines. To that end, here is an overview of some of the services that we offer:

Business Rule isolation and integration for large scale systems using Blaze Advisor

Develop Java, .NET, Perl, Python, TCL and C++ related technologies for Web, Telephony, Transactional i.e. financial and a variety of other considerations.

Windows and Unix/Linux System Administration.

Application Server Administration, in particular, Weblogic, Oracle and JBoss.

Desperate application communication by way of Web Services (SOAP & Restful), RMI, EJBs, Sockets, HTTP, FTP and a number of other protocols.

Graphics Rich application development work i.e. fat clients and/or Web Clients to include graphic design

Performance improvement through code rewrites, code interpreter enhancements, inline and native code compilations and system alterations.

Mentoring of IT and Business Teams for quick and guaranteed expertise transfer.

Architect both small and large software development systems to include: Data Dictionaries, UML Diagrams, Software & Systems Selections and more