What Are MOOCs?
MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) give people the chance to learn new things with short courses presented by experts.
They started in America a few years ago and have developed rapidly. They now cover a huge range of subjects.
Studying in a MOOC gives everyone, including people who have difficulty in getting out, the opportunity to keep their brains active. But within the U3A the aim should always be "Uniting Third Agers" so the main attraction of MOOCs is as a means of promoting discussions in a live group.
Even the largest U3A groups struggle to provide the widest range of courses for members; demand always seems to outstrip supply. Some MOOCs are already being used by U3A groups.
Follow the link to MOOCs on Offer to see a list of currently available MOOCs.
Follow the link to Case Studies to see how other groups are already using MOOCs.
Although participants in FutureLearn courses have to register by the course launch date, they have confirmed that course materials will then remain available and they can take as long to complete the course as they like. Once ‘live’ the MOOC will remain available as long as the University which wrote the course wishes it to. It could therefore be left up for 6-9 months to enable U3A members to log in weekly, monthly or as intermittently as they prefer!
We are in discussions with Royal Holloway, University of London, about courses being designed at present to run on FutureLearn. It is, we are told, possible that there could be dedicated U3A forums for members from across the UK to engage with one another in these courses.