Reduce Your Workload with NTU’s Massive Open Online Courses

By Tan Ching Yee

Being in university is a stressful experience. We only have 13 weeks to master all lesson content and on top of that, competing with other students piles on even more pressure.

Yet, despite the intensity, there is a silver lining.  NTU currently offers Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) which can be used for credit transfer! MOOCs are provided by established universities such as Yale, Harvard, and Cornell. These courses are graded on a pass-fail basis and will not count towards your overall GPA. In my opinion, these courses are relatively undemanding – they allow you to clear your degree requirements without you having to go through the intense legwork of regular NTU modules.

Electives approved for credit transfer include (UE), General Prescribed Electives (GERPEs), and in some instances, Major Prescribed Electives (Major PEs). Throughout your time in university, you can take up to 12 AUs worth of MOOCs.

The deadline for course registration under Coursera – a MOOC provider that is sponsored for all NTU students – has been extended to Feb 28, 2021. You have to complete these courses by April 30, 2021.  This leaves you with some time still to take up a module or two before the end of the semester. Personally, I was able to complete a few MOOCs over a couple of weeks by dedicating some time to them during the weekends. 

Check out the variety of MOOCs available on Coursera.
Photo Credit: NTU Coursera 

The two MOOC modules I completed were Yale University’s Moral Foundations of Politics and the University of Illinois’ Planet Earth…and You!

Moral Foundations of Politics

Moral Foundations of Politics can be registered as a GER-PE (LA) or UE worth  2 AUs. From my experience, it is an interesting module to take for people searching to expand their horizons in the field of ethics. This course delves into discussions regarding the moral frameworks policymakers consider when analysing society. You will also be exposed to common ideologies in contemporary politics.

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Curious about politics but not a PPGA student? Here’s your chance to learn.

The assessments include MCQs after every week’s content to test your understanding. Typically, you have to achieve a minimum score of 80 percent to pass, but with up to three attempts, this should be relatively straightforward. Each lecture lasts between two and three hours, and you can refer to the lesson transcript to reinforce your understanding. The professor spoke slowly but clearly and gave insightful explanations.

Planet Earth… and You! 

You can be more attuned to environmentalism by taking this course. Photo credit: Unsplash | @noahbuscher 

On the other hand, ‘Planet Earth… and You!’ (GER-PE (STS) or UE worth 2 AUs) is a module that explores the geographical realities of our planet. Topics range from plate tectonics to energy use.  

Some topics, such as volcanoes and earthquakes, may not be occurrences that we have personally experienced before, but they nonetheless provide educational accounts of how other societies cope with such disasters. Overall, this module was rather enjoyable, with posts on discussion forums that provided some enlightening perspectives.

Assessment for this module comprises both quizzes and posts on discussion forums. The quizzes typically require a 70 per cent minimum to pass. This course is a little more intense as there is lab work that requires some Mathematical skills (akin to O Level E-Math). If you are comfortable with numbers and Geography, you may enjoy this course.

Register Soon

After finishing my modules, I registered them for credit transfer on NTU’s portal. The process was a breeze and only took two days! However, I did this during the holidays, so perhaps the system was not as overwhelmed. It’s always safer to leave some extra time for administrative processes.

Read the NTU FAQ on MOOCs for a better understanding.
Photo Credit: NTU Website 

Still not convinced to try? Perhaps this hypothetical scenario might do the trick: say an NTU student, John, has 13 AUs worth of UEs left to clear in Year 3 Semester 2, with 9 AUs of S/U options left. John decides to register three courses under Coursera which add up to 7 AUs.  

By the end of the semester, John only has 6 AUs (13 − 7 = 6) left to clear, which means that he just has to take one UE for each of his remaining semesters. He can save his S/U options for these courses. I don’t know about you, but having leftover S/U AUs will surely take a huge load off his shoulders!

So, do check out the NTU website for more information, and perhaps register for an MOOC! Here’s to a lighter university experience with fewer (graded) AUs ahead.

Useful Links:

NTU MOOC FAQ:  

https://www.ntu.edu.sg/Students/Undergraduate/AcademicServices/Pages/MOOC.aspx

Exclusive Coursera Link for NTU students:  

https://www.coursera.org/programs/coursera-for-ntu-students-iasyo