Moocs: Have you done one yet? by Chris Longmuir
This is not the first time I’ve written about MOOCS, but I’m currently enjoying one entitled Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime, and I’m a sucker for anything that involves crime.
I’m getting to be an old hand with MOOCS, and I’ve taken part in quite a lot of them now. I’ve studied everything from crime, forensics, criminal justice, and a beauty called Identifying the Dead where we got to learn all about bones and skeletons and things as part of a course on forensic anthropology. But I’ve also done courses on the First World War, the Irish Revolution, as well as digital marketing, and how to read minds. Quite a selection.
So what is a MOOC? I suppose you could say it is the modern equivalent of a correspondence course. The word MOOC means Massive Open Online Course and it is an online course of study with open access via the web. As well as using traditional course materials such as videos, readings, podcasts, and online lectures, it encourages participants to communicate in online forums to build a community of students, lecturers, and so forth. It is a fantastic way to study and the courses are completely free. Here is a link to a You Tube video telling you how a MOOC works https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW3gMGqcZQc
There are several ways of enrolling for a MOOC through different providers, but the provider I use is FutureLearn. They have loads of courses delivered by different universities and organisations, covering a variety of subjects. If you want to browse the courses you will find them here https://www.futurelearn.com/courses
The first course I chose was an Introduction to Forensic Science, delivered by the University of Strathclyde. This course ran for six weeks with an average of three hours per week study. Of course the amount of time devoted to study is optional, this decision to be taken by the student. But as I said above, I’ve done many more courses since then.
The amount of people taking part in these courses is phenomenal, and the interaction between them, which is optional, is lively. The participants engage in many discussions over various aspects of the course, comparing notes, and learning from each other. You can access these courses long after the date given, but you do lose out on much of the interactional sharing if you do them at a later date.
FutureLearn is a good provider of these free courses and the selection is varied, including philosophical subjects, medical, mathematical, social sciences, and I noticed journalism and fiction writing among them. I heartily recommend you have a look at the courses link for this, which is earlier in this article. In the meantime if you want to know how FutureLearn works, then check out this link which will give you a video of how it all works as well as links to why it works and other aspects. Here is the link which will take you to how it works https://www.futurelearn.com/about/how-it-works
I am enjoying studying this way and I am sure many of you would as well therefore I would urge you to check out the links.
I keep getting the emails from FutureLearn and keep meaning to check out what's on offer - but like Mari and Jan, I feel I have neither the time mor the brain-space. But next time one drops into my mailbox, maybe I should take a look...