Open classrooms, formerly Site so Zero, is a MOOC platform based in France. The site has made a place for itself in MOOC’s world thanks to the quality of the courses offered there. It is in collaboration with universities, vocational training institutions, and large companies. Its offer of distance courses centered on the world of computer science attracts many francophones, but also internationals because the site presents courses in English and Spanish. Even today, it is preferred by learners who want to take classes with a certificate of completion of training recognized by the state.
Mathieu Nebra, with Pierre Dubuc, are the initiators of the Openclassrooms platform, formerly called The Site of Zero. Matthieu Nebra was still a student when, at the age of 13, he wanted to learn how to create a website. He was trying to find beginner books at the library but could not find any. His parents had offered him a book on web development at Christmas. As the book seemed difficult and incomprehensible to him, an idea came to his mind: creating a site on HTML for beginners. So he started The Site of Zero in 1999. Il was a site for tutorials aimed at training young people on computer programming languages.
Pierre Dubuc was the first visitor to the site. It was then that he offered his help to Matthew Nebra. He already had, at that time, confirmed knowledge of the world of web development. The two enthusiasts decided to work together and regularly created content for the site with a few volunteers. At first, only a few friends visited and were interested in the area. Then, through word of mouth, the platform gradually attracted users. At the end of their studies, things became more serious, and the two companions decided to invest fully in the site. So they moved to the suburbs of Paris and found a small office to work in.
At the start of their professions, the two young men generated income through advertisements and books that found success in online training. This sale allowed them to sell 150,000 pounds and benefit from a fund of 2 million euros from Alven Capital. This capital, therefore, offers them the opportunity to expand their project. It was then that the company left its small office and moved to the center of Paris. The founders decided in 2013 to rename their company “OpenClassrooms” and have made an international reputation. Since then, the site has gradually embarked on other activities and has focused on premium offerings and online training.
In 2015, the site’s owners claimed to have one million members. The story that marked the company’s second success is its partnership with the French government during the time of François Hollande. The President announced a free Premium account to all French job seekers for professional and certified training.
The courses on the Openclassrooms platform are presented in French, English, and Spanish. Its partnership with universities such as École Polytechnique, Efrei Paris, ESGI, ICD, Sciences Po, and large companies and institutions such as IBM, Google, Brussels Formation, Microsoft, Texas Instruments, Theme Cloud allows the site to offer online training sanctioned by recognized certificates.
Unlike other MOOC platforms that teach courses in a wide range of fields, the site offers courses that revolve around entrepreneurship, virtual marketing, and web development. They are presented in the form of short videos and PDFs. Besides, to assess the learners’ achievements, exercises in MQS and free projects are made available to them.
The students themselves do the correction of the exercises. Indeed, the interactivity between students is strengthened on the platform. However, if participants need assistance, they can refer to the trainers and request personalized service.
Until 2018, the site allowed members to post their video as a course through a tool called “Race Lab.” Currently, classes are carried out by partner institutions and universities.
Open classroom courses are free and paid for. Indeed, the classes are almost the same for free and paid modes. The issuance of a certificate is what makes learners have to pay for the training. The fee-based courses are divided into two offers, including:
- The “Premium” offer at 20 euros per month, without commitment. This is an available course, depending on the learner’s own pace. At the end of the training, a certificate of success is issued, including recognition by employers.
- The “Premium Plus” offer starts at 300 euros per month, with no commitment. The request provides professional training, followed by a mentor for guaranteed employment. The Premium Plus offer allows you to graduate to a Bac-5 level. For the latter, the participant must set a regular work rhythm.
For free courses, videos are limited to 5 per month. Assessment exercises are given to students. They can access discussion forums and can access the progress dashboard. Certificates are not issued in free mode, and it is not possible to download the videos in HD.
Also, Openclassrooms has a formula dedicated to companies. It allows employees to undergo initial training. Rates for this type of offer vary depending on the need of the companies.
Users say they are satisfied with their training via the Openclassrooms website. Some claim to have been able to carry out their project with a mentor’s assistance from the site. Others have welcomed their course and are pleased with the opportunity to benefit from many supports and very professional mentoring. Learners in non-paying training say they are happy with their experience on the site. They had the chance to acquire new know-how that allowed them to move towards a new profession. However, some learners spoke of a somewhat rigorous pace and that it is essential to show attendance.
The Openclassrooms platform is the recommended site for anyone who wants to perform in the Web world without going through an entire university course. The presence of tutors on the site allows learners to solve complex problems and benefit from a directive to master the achievements. The rates are desirable. It is an alternative for anyone who wants to graduate at a lower cost. It is also an opportunity for companies to train their employees at lower prices. The courses are offered in a way that meets the needs of businesses. This makes it easier for participants to find a job. Besides, recognized certificates are an asset.