The University of Southampton on November 4, launched its second Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), which will allow people to explore our underwater world and see our planet as never before.
The ‘Exploring our Oceans’ MOOC will enable anyone to study online, for free, wherever they are in the world. To take part in the MOOC, no previous experience is required, there is no admission interview and no need to have ever studied online or even in higher education.
The MOOC, which is being led by leading ocean explorers from Ocean and Earth Science at the University, will last six weeks, each requiring two to three hours of study per week. The course will have recorded lectures, carefully selected readings, planned learning activities and online formative multiple-choice tests. There will also be a discussion forum based around weekly topics that promote lively debate and help build an online community around areas of interest.
Every week will have a different topic including ‘How do we explore the oceans?’, ‘Why is the sea salty?’ and ‘The Future of the Oceans’. Participants can either choose to complete the whole programme, or elect to dip into particular topics of interest as and when time allows.
Dr Jon Copley, Senior Lecturer in Marine Ecology, says: “Ocean science is as big as the oceans themselves. In this course, you will investigate an underwater realm that’s been unknown for most of human history. You’ll see how the ocean depths are no longer out of reach and how they are connected to our everyday lives.
“By taking what you’ve learned and discussing it with other people who may be taking the course or your friends and family, you can join in a global debate about the future of our planet.”
Professor Rachel Mills, Associate Dean of Natural and Environmental Sciences at the University, says: “We look forward to you joining us online for six weeks of deep ocean exploration. We will share the exciting finds from our most recent expeditions and introduce the science of the oceans in an accessible way, whether you are a prospective student wanting a taster of our oceanography degrees or are a lifelong learner with a passion for our oceans.”
The MOOC will be open for registration on 4 November 2013 and starts on 3 February 2014 and formally finishes on 17 March 2014.
For participants, the benefits of taking part in a MOOC are clear; they get an engaging educational experience that develops new skills and understanding. In addition, there is no cost, no travel and the timing is flexible so that they can fit study in around their work and other activities. Although there is no official academic credit awarded for successful completion, students will be recognized with a PDF certificate or a digital badge.
The Southampton MOOCs will be delivered by FutureLearn, a new company set up by the Open University, which will offer MOOCs by many of the UK’s top universities, including Southampton. By delivering the University’s MOOCs through FutureLearn, it will enable people all over the world to enjoy learning at Southampton through free courses accessible on mobiles, tablets or PCs.
This is the second MOOC offered by the University of Southampton, following its Web Science MOOC, which starts on 11 November. If you would like to know more or to register for the ‘Exploring our Oceans’ MOOCs, please visit http://www.southampton.ac.uk/moocs/exploring_our_oceans.shtml