By David Wells

Hello everyone, thanks for dropping back in with me. This post will double as a Masters update/moving forward piece. If you read my last update article you’ll know that I had decided to hold off signing up for a Masters module just yet and was planning on taking an online tutoring course through the University of Sheffield. Unfortunately that will also not be happening either now, at least for the time being anyway, as that particular course is not running because they cannot muster up the sufficient number of students to go ahead. That’s a shame but we must move on! I considered taking something else but nothing really struck me or stood out beyond that course apart from a similar course being offered by the University of Ulster. But I did not receive a response when emailing a question to the lady detailed as being in charge of the course and that didn’t seem like a good sign so I let it go. It was a bit overpriced anyway.

One thing I haven’t taken an extensive look at yet is MOOCs, having only written briefly about them a year or so ago. But now I’ve decided to take the plunge and sign up for a Spanish course through Future Learn. Spanish for Beginners is the actual title and it starts mid-October so no time for messing around. The course was mentioned in a recent Open University digital newsletter I was e-mailed, so I followed the link on a whim and decided that it could help keep me focused while also negotiating the Future Learn route to see what it can offer. If you look at the image below you will see the start date, duration and how many hours are expected for study all laid out.

Future Learn MOOC

After signing up I was immediately directed to the welcome area and a long-running thread where current students (this is section three of a six part course) were already chatting and I was encouraged to introduce myself, which I did. Nearly 400 students are enrolled in this so that was a good sign straight away. The segment of the course I’ve picked up on is entitled ‘My Life’ and it says: “Learn to talk about daily life, what you do during the day and when things happen in the third Spanish for Beginners course”. If you scroll down the page there is then a free eBook guide available for download which is a valuable tool for people like me who are new to this kind of initiative.


In April 2015, we invited FutureLearners around the world to share their top study tips with us. We’ve now collated the best tips — and combined them with expert advice from the academic community — to create The Crowdsourced Guide to Learning. This free, 60-page e-book offers useful advice on how to start learning, organise your studies, remember what you’ve learnt, keep motivated and learn with other people. Wherever you are on your learning journey, we hope you’ll find something to inspire, inform or surprise.

At the bottom of the page is information about the tutor, a calendar to remind myself to actually start and some general information and tips on crowd sourced learning and tools and tips for social learning. Perhaps this could be the first of many courses for me or a one off – who knows? My course appears to be provided by the Open University but others have different institutions named below them such as the University of Southampton and even Taipei Medical University so there are other course providers involved. I believe that in these instances you can take the course for free but if you wish to receive a certificate of achievement then you need to pay for it, which makes sense. I’ll keep you updated on how I get on.

Have you taken a MOOC or got involved with Future Learn or any of their courses? If so how did you find it? Please LIKE/SHARE/TWEET or leave a comment below, we would love to hear from you. This social currency helps us to grow and improve the value we are able to provide for Open University students.

The Open University study guide is now available! Click on this image to find out more.

The Open University study guide is now available! Click on this image to find out more.