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Using academics’ work in a MOOC to showcase and challenge

The UCL Institute of Education's MA in Education recently developed a MOOC (massive open online course) as an online-taster course for the programme.

4 November 2015

The MOOC features interviews with high-profile academics talking about their research and how it helps them to answer every-day questions and assumptions about education.

The introductory module of the MA in Education, 'What is Education?', features academics from across the UCL Institute of Education talking about their research. The aim of the module is to get students (who have a range of backgrounds, experiences and come from a variety of international contexts) to use these findings to gain a deeper understanding of their own contexts. This pedagogical approach: of showcasing academic’s work alongside an enquiry approach questioning practice, is used to help students on the programme gain a deeper understanding of what it means to study education at post-graduate level within the IOE.

The MA in Education team wanted to spread this approach further, to engage an international audience, and others who are interested in education but who may not be education professionals. In collaboration with University of London International Programmes, and Coursera, they developed a MOOC called 'What future for education?'. Throughout the MOOC, participants were given access to the work of imminent academics being interviewed about their work, and challenged by commonplace notions:

  • How do we learn?
  • What is intelligence and does it matter?
  • What makes a good teacher?
  • Can schools make a difference?
  • Why do governments fund education?
  • What future for education?

Through the support of current students acting as Teaching Assistants, participants were then guided through critically reflective activities to gain a deeper understanding of their own experience and how education is understood in their particular contexts. It was also hoped that this approach demonstrates to the wider public the value and importance of the research work undertaken in and around education at UCL IOE.

The MOOC is now going on-demand and so will be available all-year around and is connected to a Facebook page enabling participants to carry on their engagement after completing the course.

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