I have enrolled myself in a MOOC offered by University of Leeds in the FutureLearn Platform. The course is “Blended Learning Essentials” and has Dr. Diana Laurillard and Niel Morris as its lead educators. The course is primarily intended for trainers/teachers in Vocational Education sector (Not an exact match to my context, but the concept of blended learning transcends such boundaries).
About the Course
Total Course time – 5 weeks
Expected Effort – 4 hours/week (Additional hours for detailed
Course Resource Lifetime – Even after course
Learning Tracks – Free/Without Certi Learning Path, can purchase Statement of Participation
Professional Accreditation – Counted as 20 CPD hours (good metric, rather than percentage of completion or marks)
Number of activities – 2-3 per week
Week 1: Why Blended Learning?
Week 2: Preparing for Blended Learning
Week 3: Systems, Tools and Resources for Blended Learning
Week 4: Designing Blended Learning
Week 5: Teaching for your Learner’s Future
What is expected – Exposure to new technologies, Case studies, Sharpening critique of what can be done and what can’t be (through BL). Design of a Blended Learning Activity (towards end – I think in Week 4)
Overall the course looks very light on load, but with the breadth of the topic being discussed
About the FutureLearn Interface
I found the UI of FutureLearn decent. It wasn’t a completely formal one, and it was a good middle distance from the Coursera/edX tabbed view and the topic/week wise view of Moodle. So the courseware had the following components:
The To-do indicated what I have to do next, and upon selection showed list of courseware contents for the respective week.
Activity indicated discussion forum activity within the course (recent ones first)
Replies showed the specific replies that I received for my comments in discussion forum (really cool)
Progress tab provided my current progress. Also super cool is the fact that I could get a preview of Weekly Progress from the To-Do tab (see below)
The platform allows embedding of videos/other tools (like Typeform) and hence as a learner you feel that most of the functionalities are embedded within the same platform umbrella.
Though one drawback that I see is that they do not have a basic course info page (like edX or IITBombayX) that we can always go back and recheck.