The use of MOOCs in Finnish entrance exams

As Massive Open Online Courses gained popularity some universities in Finland also got the idea of using MOOCs in the application process. Since MOOCs provide online access to everyone they allow for massive number of applications also.

Another part for their use has been also the idea in Finland that the application process should be streamlined. As before it meant that application process to universities would take months of studying for just one exam.

So are MOOCs the future of entrance exams also. By answering these questions of numbers and time. Or just an easy model for online learning.

Let's take a look at some of the MOOCs used entrance exams.

Computer Science

The most well-known example is that of University of Helsinki's Programming MOOC. For it was used as one of the application pathways into computer science degree. The then programming MOOC has been replaced with a new one.

In the MOOC pathway you would had have to complete 90 percent of the programming assignments correctly. Then you would be able to undertake the entrance exam.

Since that process takes about the whole of spring undertaking a MOOC course demand a great deal of time from the applicant. Which is bit problematic given that about every other entrance exam also is being held in that time period.

You are rewarded with some study credits for completing the course but not that many since with easy MOOCs you can have the same amount of ECTS credits in a week. That would take you a month of intensive study with the entrance exam MOOCs.

Perhaps the most important thing with the MOOC entrance exams is that you also might learn if the university way of teaching a subject is for you. Given that some of the course content is quite theoretical. Meaning many times the entrance exam MOOCs are more of a motivation tests than anything than a test requiring reason as well.

Social Work

One of the more popular entrance exam MOOCs is the social work MOOC. Held in Finnish. Organized into video lectures, quizzes and assignments.

Similar to other entrance exam MOOCs it also demands you to intensively study its contents during the whole of spring. For you only to be allowed to take the proper entrance exam as the MOOC is only a pre-exam. You are rewarded with five ECTS credits for undertaking the course but have to get over 90 percent score to get in to the entrance exam proper.

So I would it say it is quite a stressful form of entrance exam. Which does not really allow you for to seek or try out other lines of study during the same spring.

MOOCs can also be horribly made. Forfeiting every accepted line of thinking in how to build a quiz exam.

I don't know how you would feel if your first encounter in MOOCs was a 5-minute quiz with 75 percent completion requirement. Allowed to be taken officially twice or third time if you beg through e-mail. 

The questions themselves did not require any reasoning. Just that you did know what exact word a lecturer used in one of the videos. So rather than learning anything and trying to use it in your thinking also did not matter. It would have been better if would have transcribed the video lecture instead of trying to make any sense out of it since then you would know where to find the magic words.

So the most draconian MOOC quiz format probably ever seen was used for a entrance exam. Which is think it quite an alarming tale since hardly anyone looks into these MOOCs from the applicant's viewpoint. Applicants themselves can justify the grind no matter how mindless the exercises might as part of the nature of entrance exams.

But if you are trying to create a new pathway into entrance exams then I don't know if heavy time requirements and


Based on these entrance exam MOOCs, the whole MOOC pathway has been born more out of the hype for massive online learning than even from the conventions MOOCs are actually known and loved for.

MOOCs are not massive time and effort investment that takes over anything else. Or harshly judged quizzes you are not even allowed to learn anything from.

Maybe there will be an entrance exam MOOC in the future that will begin to set things right.

But so far the only benefit is that you get an glimpse of the subject matter and how it is taught. The downside is even that takes weeks rather than instant learning with the weekly, spring-time form entrance exams MOOCs have chosen to take.