Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs, serve as an example of information sharing on the Internet. Leading universities around the world publish MOOCs to the Internet, enabling us to access the world-class education on offer at these establishments for free.
Today we’ll look at the range of MOOCs dedicated to learning Microsoft Office, the ever present, ever useful Windows suite most computer users are exposed to in their computing lifetime. Learn more, discover new applications, or just brush up your tech skills before starting a new project with these X free MOOCs.
Udemy offers professionals or experts the opportunity to create an online course of their choice, making the gamified platform slightly different from its academic counterparts. The range of courses is fantastic, each one vetted for quality by users and other experts.
The Microsoft Office Training course offers an introduction to the main Office applications: Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint, in bite-sized tutorials. You quickly cover basics for each app. For instance: using the Quick Access ribbon in Word, formatting cells in Excel, creating your first database in Access, and how to start and theme a new PowerPoint presentation.
For instance: using the Quick Access ribbon in Word, formatting cells in Excel, creating your first database in Access, and how to start and theme a new PowerPoint presentation.
This is followed by progression onto more advanced features: mail-merging, adding comments to financial reports, designing database forms, and PowerPoint media functions. Complete each assignment to earn a “Master” badge for your Udemy profile.
Best for: New Office users, those wishing to brush up their skills.
Saylor: Word and Excel Spreadsheets
Saylor.org provides two Office orientated courses focused on improving your computer skills whilst learning some basic functions, too. The courses fall under Saylor’s Professional Development section.
The content of the Word course leaves a little to be desired, but the course aims to teach how to use any word processing program, rather than exclusively promoting Microsoft Word. By the end of the course you should be competent with Word Ribbon functions, business letter and memo design, and the associated writing styles.
The Spreadsheet tutorial focuses on learning core Excel competencies like manipulating data with simple formulas, structuring your data, and using spreadsheets for organisation. It is more detailed than its Word counterpart, but is still aimed at educating absolute beginners to the software suite.
Best for: Office newcomers.
Alison’s world of free, certified online learning features a comprehensive Microsoft Office list, with 14 individual courses covering core applications Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, and SharePoint.
There is also an umbrella course aimed at expanding your Office operating knowledge, covering some 60 modules and taking over 15 hours to complete. It is worth the time for the detailed tutorials on everything from Microsoft Office 2010 Security, to Sparklines: Use Tiny Charts to Show Data Trends, to Create Relationships and Queries for a New Database and Making the Switch to Outlook 2010.
It is directed at those aged 16+, but I think this could be a valuable resource for younger minds already comfortable with their computers, especially as each application features its own module assignments and assessments, with a downloadable PDF following completion.
Best for: Newcomers and skill brush-ups.
ExcelMOOC [No Longer Available]
ExcelMOOC is a useful, information-packed MOOC that you can complete within a dedicated day of study. Despite the slightly odd computerised voice-over, the tools covered represent great coverage of core Excel functions that anyone looking to enhance Excel skills will find handy.
Particularly useful are the rapid tutorials on Hiding and Freezing, and the entire Analyzing Data unit [No Longer Available].
Best for: Rapid brush-ups, newcomers to Excel, quick advanced tutorials.
Not a MOOC, but absolutely worth looking through. Their courses cover everything from Buying Office 2013 to Enabling Touch Mode for supported devices. I’ve often featured GCF examples in other Office tutorials written for MakeUseOf. Their content is accurate and well delivered, with enough information to empower your work, whilst not leaving anything important behind.
As a bonus, it covers all editions of Office back to Office 2000. Worth a shout for almost everyone.
Best for: All comers.
Microsoft offer their own learning resources, albeit not in the form of a MOOC. As you would expect from Microsoft, given the range of Office applications the list of available tutorials is exhaustive, even featuring Office Training for Your Mac, for Your iPad, for Your iPhone, Office 365 Business and Home, and a huge trove of tutorials for previous Office versions.
For those requiring verification of their new found skills, Microsoft also offer an exam series with 3rd-party vendor, Certiport. These are aimed at knowledge verification for potential educators, clerical staff, or Microsoft experts. However, they do come at a cost and exams are held at an official testing centre.
Best for: Anyone looking to learn almost anything about Office.
The Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) is perhaps the online knowledge repository for all things Windows, Office included. The MVA focuses on delivering accessible tutorials for some of the more complex functions of Windows, such as Deploying Office as a Service, CODExist: The Birth of a Bot, and Windows Server Administration Fundamentals. There are also Live Events in the form of virtual sessions or webinars, such as the upcoming Universal Windows App Development with Cortana and the Speech SDK.
Courses are searchable by Product or Topic, and with around 450 available at any one time, you’ll find something to pique your interest.
Best for: Heavy Windows users, programmers, developers, or those looking to understand more about the Microsoft ecosystem.
Your Favorite Learning Resources
This list of Microsoft Office resources isn’t exhaustive, but following anyone of the suggested courses will enable your Office skills to shine in any environment. Our selections are not time-dependent, but there are new MOOC courses beginning all the time across the digital sphere that require signing up for a specific start-date.
MOOCs are a fantastic learning resource for hundreds of subjects, so get searching, and get learning!
PS: The Underwater Basketweaving MOOC was an April Fool’s joke by Coursera!
Have you used a Microsoft Office MOOC? What are your favourite Office learning resources? Let us know in the comments below!