How to Succeed in an Esri MOOC

Document created by ASchutzberg-esristaff Employee on Nov 3, 2017Last modified by ASchutzberg-esristaff Employee on Jan 6, 2020
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1. Register before Class Begins


If at all possible, register well before the start date of an Esri massive open  course (MOOC). If you register after the course begins (registration remains open during the first two weeks of the course), you may need to wait for your course ArcGIS credentials (the username and password for software access) to be created. 


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2. Be sure your Esri Profile has an Up-to-Date E-mail Address


If your e-mail address is out of date, we have no way to confirm your registration or remind you when the course starts.


Here's how to update your e-mail address:


If you set up your own Esri credentials, visit and log in with your Esri credentials. Click the My Profile tab and review your information. Use the pencil icon next to your primary e-mail address to edit it. Don't forget to click Update  to save your changes.


Change e-mail


If your Esri access is provided via an Esri enabled ArcGIS  that’s part of an existing ArcGIS  organization, from work or school, it’s likely your e-mail address is up-to-date. If it’s not, you may need to contact your organization’s administrator to change it.


3. Mark the Course Dates on Your Calendar


Once you register for a MOOC, mark the start date and end date on your personal calendar. We try to send reminders on the course start date, and perhaps one a few weeks later if you have not yet started the course. These e-mails can get lost (see #2 above!), so we encourage you to set your own reminder.


When the course begins review the Dates to Remember panel on the course Dashboard. It includes information about course events and details, to the minute(!) when the course will close and software will no longer be available. We are unable to provide certificates to students who do not complete a course before it closes. Please plan ahead!


4. Confirm That Your Hardware and Operating System Meet Course Requirements


Different MOOCs have different hardware and software requirements. The details are in the Software tab toward the bottom of each course description page.



5. Start during the First Week


In the first section of each course, there is some basic housekeeping related to learning about how the course works. Take the time to complete this section during the first week of the course and plan to set aside team each week to work on the new content.


It's our experience that students who start the course and complete the assignments week by week get more out of the course and are more likely to complete it than those who try to complete all the assignments in just a week or two.


6. Understand How Esri MOOCs Work


Esri MOOCs are different than Esri e-Learning courses. (Read a blog post about the differences.)


Here are some key difference. Esri MOOCs:


  • Take more than one week, with defined start and end dates
  • Allow you to work at your own pace, whenever fits your schedule while the course is open
  • Are free and available to (just about) anyone
  • Include temporary free access to all the software and licenses needed to complete the exercises for the duration of the course
  • Include a certificate of completion for those who finish
  • Include a series of sections, with new content opening each week
  • Encourage students to look for solutions to their challenges before turning to other students and instructors
  • Are led by a host and supported by other Esri staff
  • Include videos, hands-on exercises, discussions, quizzes, and other learning opportunities


7. Prepare to Read Exercise PDFs and Use the Software at the Same Time 


Hands-on exercises are provided in PDF format. You are encouraged to download them and view using a PDF reader outside the course webpage. There are a few ways to follow the exercises while working with software:


  •  If you have two monitors, it's possible to read the PDF on one monitor and work with the GIS software on the other.

  • If you don't have two monitors, you can read the PDF from your phone (or another device such as a tablet) and work with the GIS software on the computer.

  •  If you have only one monitor but don't have a phone or tablet, you can print out the PDF file and read along as you work with the GIS software on the computer.

8. Read the Forum Posts and Announcements


Your fellow students, instructors and other guests, will communicate with you in the course Forum. This is a great place to ask questions and to help out others.


Instructors also communicate with you via in-platform announcements during the course. These announcements may provide you with guidance about a specific exercise or warn you of a deadline. 


9. Know How to Get Help


For help with general questions before the course begins:


  1. Visit the Common Questions page for MOOCs.
  2. Use the form at the bottom of that page for other questions. Please include the name of the course of interest in the message body. 


For help with course exercises after the course begins: 


  1. You'll find details on the Help tab in the black navigation bar in the course. We encourage MOOC students to learn how to learn, so expect instructors to guide you to see how far you can get on your own.


10. Prepare for the End of Class 


Esri MOOCs run for four or six weeks. We provide a finish up period after the course end date. The exact date and time the course will close is noted on the Dashboard tab in the Dates to Remember pane. After that designated time,

  • your course ArcGIS  credentials, any software licenses, and the course content (videos, quizzes, etc.) will no longer be accessible
  • your content stored in your course ArcGIS account will be deleted


Two topics come up towards the end of every MOOC: (1) certificates and (2) saving course maps and projects.


(1) Certificates


You will receive a certificate of completion if you have completed each lesson in each section of the course before it closes. If your goal is to earn a certificate it must be granted before the course closes. We are unable to provide certificates to students who do not complete a course before it closes, but you are always welcome to take the course again to earn the certificate.


You will know you have completed each and every lesson and have access to your certificate when:


  • each lesson has a green check mark beside it
  • each green bar (representing a section) is filled in with 100% completion
  • a message appears at the top of the course page like this:

Congratulations on completing the course! (graphic)

After the course is closed, you can access the certificate via your My Learning Activity page.


(2) Saving Course Maps and Projects


This post from MOOC instructor John Shramek details options for saving work completed in temporary course ArcGIS Online account.


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