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Thursday, 3 April 2014

Moocs: What are they?

I am currently studying a forensics course as part of a MOOC. MOOCs are fairly new to me, I discovered them recently and have already studied an Introduction to Forensics Course, which was extremely interesting. I have since gone on to enroll in additional courses and the current one I am studying is Forensic Science and Criminal Justice. This is only the first week but so far the studying has been just as enjoyable but less onerous than the Introduction to Forensics Course, although I am sure that will change.

So what is a MOOC? I suppose you could say it was 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

There are several ways of enrolling for a MOOC through different providers, but the provider I use is FutureLearn. They have a variety 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

The first course I chose was an Introduction to Forensic Science, delivered by the University of Strathclyde. This course started on 6 January and 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.

My current course Forensic Science and Criminal Justice, delivered by the University of Leicester, started at the beginning of this week, on 31 March. This course will also run for six weeks and the estimated study time is two hours per week.

I have also signed up for Forensic Psychology, to be delivered by the open University, on 9 June. This is an eight week course with an estimated study time of three hours per week.

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.

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

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.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Chris Longmuir