MOOC – Massive Open Online Courses – How to have access to quality education for free

Since the blog creation, I posted few things about my journey. If you read my About page, you’ll notice that I had chosen PHP, as my fellow traveler.

But much has happened in nearly a year. I’ll try to summarize here: I researched many online courses, tutorials for PHP, HTML, CSS and stuff like tha.

Coursera – A great platform

So, I found out Coursera, a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) platform. They work with the best Universities to make some of their courses available online. Coursera

In most courses the structure is composed as follows:

Weekly lectures

The video lectures can be found on website. The lectures are recorded, so you can watch when you want. Subtitles in English are available, which makes it very easy to understand for those who do not have a very accurate listening. In some cases, there were subtitles in Portuguese, but the translation was not very good. Particularly I preferred, in this case, back to the English subtitles.


For those who want to receive the certificate at the end of the course, there is a homework every week. Usually a quiz that is automatically corrected. O interessante é que na correção há comentários sobre as questões e as respostas. Depending on the course there are a number of attempts. But do not think it is easy to get 100%, because despite the questions are the same, every attempt may change: the values ​​of the question, the final answer or the options on questions like “Which of the following are true”.


There are some kinds of assignments: create a website, develop some code, and so on. To evaluate your job, could be a validator program or input a code to be verified automatically.

Mid term and Final Exams

Some courses have exams, with same homework structure.


Here the thing happens! Imagine about 10.000 students attending the course. Discussions are grouped by subject so that participants do not get lost in the large amount of messages exchanged. The information exchange and the collaboration are amazing. The course staff from University aid in mediation and clarifying questions as well.

Do not miss out!


Every homework, assignments and exams have a pontuation. There is due date and a hard deadline (normally one week past the due date), but if you submit after the due date you could be penalized. It’s established a minimum percentage to be awarded the certificate at the end of the course, around 65%.

Chosen Courses

Startup Engineering

Searching hundreds of courses available, I enrolled in the Startup Engineering from Stanford, which by the way has a number of other online courses.


Logo StanfordThis course covers various topics related to the creation of startups, divided into two topics:

  • Marketing
  • Technology

On the technology topic are addressed trends in Web development.. The goal: deploy a Crowdfunding site using the following technologies:



  • Node.js is a platform built on Chrome’s JavaScript runtime. Work as a Application Server.
  • Mongo DB is a non-structured database, document-oriented. The document syntax is the same as JSON (Java Script Object Notation). The main features: easy to scale, great performance with high volume of data.
  • HTML5 used for presentation layer. Its main feature is the standardization of features eliminating the need for plugins like flash.

Computer Networks

As I wanted to know a little more of networking concepts, also did the course Computer Networks from Universidade of Washington.




It was an excellent course that introduced all the concepts behind the internet, through routine routing, DNS, security and so on.

Mongo DB

My goal was understand their concepts: Document-oriented database, non-relational, scaleble and fast. So, I enrolled in Mongo DB for Node.Js on Mongo DB University.


The model of online education is quite evolved. I could see it through my own personal experience. With courses lasting an average of 10 weeks, the absorption of knowledge is very good. Although it required a great deal of discipline. One of my biggest motivations was to get the certificate. I’m sure that we give up the certificate would not have done the homework and assignments, which are fundamental tools for the absorption of the content.