Advice on using MOOCs

Totton South U3A

Totton South U3A has a MOOC group which has grown to around fifteen people. They agree a MOOC to access (registering to follow the course together) and meet monthly to discuss course content, issues raised, delivery and anything else that arises.

Over time the group has accessed a range of courses using voting to decide which to access. Everyone can propose a course and the group votes, identifying first, second, third preferences from a list of suggested courses. When group members settle on the course to follow, some may choose to opt out for that course but the group are happy with how courses are decided at present.

Some of the courses the MOOC Group have followed are:

  • The Power of Brands
  • Understanding Europe
  • Introduction to the Philosophy of Mathematics
  • Nutrition, Health and Wellbeing
  • England in the time of Richard III
  • Basic Science: understanding numbers
  • Towards Scottish Independence? understanding the referendum
  • Exploring our Oceans
  • The Magna Carta and its Legacy
  • Medicine and the Arts
  • Our Hungry Planet
  • Cooperation in the Contemporary World

The latest choice is a six week FutureLearn course - Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales, which commenced on 19th October.

The Group currently follows the recommended time to complete the courses but, for the future, they may sometimes opt to take longer and go into greater depth.

Tip - consider whether to spend longer on a course, so going into greater depth, or to cover the course material in the allocated time probably in a relatively superficial manner. FutureLearn courses stay available to you indefinitely (so far) so you do not have to stick to the course timetable, except for registering in time for the course start date. Often the material for a course week could be discussed over two or three meetings.