When entering the world of coding, you will quickly realize how essential team work really is. Though this begs a new question, if team work is a complete necessity in the coding world, why do MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) not provide a team working aspect to them? Would it even be feasible to include a team work portion to these programming courses?
These courses, known as MOOCs, offered by Coursera, Edx, Udacity and many other sources provide excellent instruction to help an individual hone their coding skills. There are discussion boards to ask for help along with great reading resources to reference in order to provide help through each assignment. They encourage the use of Stack Overflow. These courses are great to help with mastery of the “hard skills” of computer science. So, what can be done to help with the “soft skills”? Arguably the most important part of working as a programmer is having the ability to communicate effectively and work with others in an efficient manner. This is the biggest advantage that university learning has over MOOCs. When in a university setting, students are frequently assigned group projects. This gives the student excellent insight into what industry work is like, but it also helps the student gain essential soft skills to apply to any future job in any industry. Though these projects typically pale in comparison to those from industry, they do force students to learn how to provide useful comments on their code, as well as learning how to build their programs to work with other’s code.
The students of MOOCs will have to find a different method (Java pun intended) to learn these skills. They might try looking for programming groups in their community, or possibly at the nearby university or community college. While this could work, it more or less defeats the purpose of taking MOOCs.
What is your opinion? Do you think MOOCs are fine the way they are? Do you feel as though this is something MOOC providers should worry about? If you are a self-taught programmer, how did you work on gaining teamwork skills?
Thank you for reading!