MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are freely accessible online courses created and supervised by a wide range of universities around the world, with large numbers of participants. No degrees, certificates or other formal requirements are necessary to register.
MOOCs are offered on a range of MOOC platforms. With over 200 partner universities and enterprises worldwide and over 90 million participants (as at March 2022), Coursera is the most popular and largest MOOC platform. UZH also runs its MOOCs via Coursera.
The MOOCs are closely linked in terms of content to UZH's official study programs. However, the provider of the MOOCs is Coursera. Coursera offers MOOCs created and led by selected universities and other renowned partner institutions.
MOOCs are video-based and are supplemented by scripts, interactive learning material, exercises, tests and discussion forums. During the MOOC course, participants complete the lessons at their own learning speed, at times of their own choosing, and in interaction with other students, instructors and mentors. The teaching staff structure the course content and provide new video lectures throughout the course in accordance with each course schedule.
Participation in MOOCs is free of charge. Upon request, participants can voluntarily take exams to receive a Course Certificate from Coursera. An fee is charged for the examinations. The certificates display the logo of the relevant partner university, in order to emphasize that the MOOCs are of university level. However, the sole certificate issuer (and legal partner) is Coursera.
Although MOOCs are not official courses offered by the participating universities and are also not treated as such, MOOCs serve as an ideal complement to (or preparation for) a degree course.