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The practical realities of developing and running a MOOC

Cloud created by:

Vicky Cole
11 April 2019

Date: Tuesday 14 May 2019

Time: 10:00 – 12:15

Place: Library Seminar Rooms 1 and 2 / Stadium live streaming


You are warmly invited to the next eLearning Community event: The practical realities of developing and running a MOOC


  • 10.00-10.25  The practical realities of designing and moderating a FutureLearn MOOC - Anna Calvi (Associate Lecturer and Consultant)

Abstract - Over a period of three years I have designed and moderated the ‘Italian for Beginners’ program of six online Italian MOOCs, the ‘Business Fundamentals: Effective Communication’ MOOC and ‘Writing an academic essay’, a MOOC produced as part of a project initiated by WELS/LAL in conjunction with Project Minerva. This presentation will share insights and reflections on my experience of designing and moderating these MOOCs. I will explain how the objectives of each course, its target audience as well as affordances and constraints of the Future Learn platform have influenced the design phase, the choice of audio-visual materials and the process of repurposing L195 materials. I will also share reflections regarding my experience working with LAL and OUBS teams and under strict time constraints. Finally, I will draw on my experience as MOOC mentor and moderator to comment on the most common student engagement patterns.

  •  10.25-10.50  Can online personal finance education for young people really work? - Martin Upton (Senior Lecturer in Finance and Director of the Centre for Public Understanding of Finance (PUFin), FBL)

Abstract - Martin Upton of FBL talks about the production, launch and impact of the online course Managing My Money for Young Adults (MMMYA). The course was launched on OpenLearn in November 2017 and on FutureLearn in September 2018. Martin will discuss:-

  • The background to the production of the MMMYA course
  • The course design and the aim of making it both relevant and interesting for the core target audience of 16-18 year olds 
  • The additional support provided to teachers using it in the classroom
  • How the course was promoted
  • How mentors have supported the FutureLearn presentations
  • The take-up and the response by learners
  • The lessons that are being learnt for future personal finance education projects


  •   10.50-11.15 Coffee / Tea Break
  •   11.15-11.40  Ethical reflections on a MOOC about research ethics - Alison Fox (Senior Lecturer, WELS)

Abstract - This presentation charts the building of a FutureLearn MOOC People Studying People: Research Ethics in Society. The MOOC runs for six weeks twice a year and since 2017 has run five times. It is not very massive, as far as MOOCs go, but has been recruiting variable numbers of between 500-2500 participants. The eLC presentation covers how researching the MOOC was scoped, conducted and reported. The aims of the research were to learn from the collective discussions of the participants about ethical issues associated with the ethical framework forming the basis of the MOOC. However, the research changed to look at the effects of researching a MOOC using the ethical framework itself. The presentation will discuss issues about FutureLearn policies, participant rights, and the participant experience that are of particular importance for colleagues engaged in development of MOOCs at the OU.

  • 11.40-12.15  Making Change Happen: MOOCs and Development - Tim Seal (Senior Project Manager, IDO/WELS)

Abstract - The OU worked with Oxfam to develop a MOOC ‘Make Change Happen’ delivered via FutureLearn. The course was designed to support activists working in the wider humanitarian sector on how they can better understand power dynamics to positively drive social change. This was developed collaboratively with Oxfam’s subject expertise and the OU’s learning expertise over the course of 2018. Starting with a 2 day exploratory design workshop and drawing on a diverse team of experts from Oxfam’s global network the course attracted learners from over 150 countries. It consists of 24 hours of learning across 8 sessions, and the approach focuses on learners engaging in and sharing their own context by which to gain greater understanding of the systems in which they are working and living. There will be 3 presentations of this MOOC: one in 2018 which had 3,839 enrolled learners, and a further two presentations in 2019 one of which is currently underway. This talk will provide an over view of the process in developing the course with focus on working with partners externally to the OU. The MOOC can be found at  

You are welcome to attend for all or part of the event, and we will aim to stick to timings to enable you to do that. Please note that this event will be recorded and live-streamed on Stadium

OU staff will be able to view the slides after the event at: Scholarship Exchange

If you are planning to attend in person, please email so we can make sure we order enough refreshments. Please also forward these details to any colleagues who might be interested.


Details of previous events, slides, etc., can be found on our Cloudworks page, and recordings of many recent events are also available via Stadium.

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