Advice on using MOOCs

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.

Perth U3A approached FutureLearn and have produced a useful note about about copyright when using FutureLearn courses.


Participants in FutureLearn courses have to register by the course launch date, or shortly after, the course materials will then remain available for the course duration plus 14 days. This is a change to the previous arrangement for free courses. Longer access is now allowed for those who pay for an upgraded course.

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.

In the meantime U3A members are helping with Citizens 800 research projects and some work by members is being included in the project blog. The first Citizens 800 MOOC Beyond the Ballot: Women’s Rights and Suffrage from 1866 to Today has now been announced on FutureLearn for February 2018.