Web Science- University of Southampton

The internet has definitely changed since the first computer my family purchased back in 2001 (it was a Compaq Presario running Windows Me) and we connected to the internet via a dialup connection. I can remember at the time, I had absolutely no interest in using the computer and my sister actually was the person who decided to set up our computer. Being the thirteen year old boy that I was back in 2001, I was more concerned with going outside and adventure. Well today technology plays quite a different role in my life and I have become a major advocate for technology inside the classroom.

MOOCs or Massively Open Online Courses have been around for some time now, but instead of the most well known MOOC, Coursera, dominating the internet in this category, the UK has decided to get into this arena in an attempt to rethink MOOCs with FutureLearn. I have been using Coursera for over a year now and when I first heard of FutureLearn on the BBC, I signed up immediately. FutureLearn is still in it’s beta stage, but there are quite a wide variety of courses and British universities that have registered to host online courses.

The first class that I signed up for on FutureLearn was Web science: how the web is changing the world, through the University of Southampton. For those of you who are interested in the course, the course just began today, November 11, 2013. This course is a six week course that is completely FREE and if you start late, you have time to make up the coursework. Unfortunately this course is not for college credit, but you will receive a certificate of completion that you can put on a resume or CV. Please allow me to mention just a bit about the course and then I will describe my opinions about FutureLearn. Everyone who is currently reading this post has some knowledge about the internet and thankfully the internet has evolved into something that users can create content without any major knowledge of how the internet works. This being said, when people have a better understanding of what they are using, they are able to maximize the effectiveness of the item they are using and utilize the item in new ways. Web Science, I believe is a very interesting and important new field of study because the Web has become an integral part of any industrial society’s infrastructure. I am not saying that we need to become experts on the Web, but I do believe we all should have at least a working understanding of what we are using.

Now for a brief head’s up concerning what I think about FutureLearn as a whole. Web Science being the only course I have begun on FutureLearn, I cannot say for certain that this will be how all courses will be set up, but I am very impressed with the layout of the course. Having down several courses on Coursera, I have found it somewhat confusing when it comes to what I have finished reviewing. The entire course is set up like an outline and after you finish one portion of the curriculum, you can click a check box indicating the completion of that portion. I really like the clean interface and how everything seems to be spread out. It seems a lot less cluttered than other MOOC sites. The last item I would like to mention concerning FutureLearn is that it seems to be more focused on the Social Sciences at the current moment. There are some computer courses, but I have noticed the content seems to be geared around history, sociology and psychology. Not saying this is a negative, because personally I enjoy these areas of interest much more.

~ by branhow on November 11, 2013.

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