Monthly Archives: November 2014

MOOCs – free online courses for English language students

MOOCThis week’s blogpost is in reply to a student who has asked if there are any free online courses to help them improve their English.

Recently, one kind of online course that has generated quite a lot of interest is the MOOC. MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. MOOCs are free (open) for anyone to sign up to do and consequently, with the help of wide marketing, they are attracting many thousands of participants (massive) from all over the world. MOOCs are generally short, varying in length from between 4 weeks and 8 weeks. Typical course content includes videos featuring subject experts; links to articles; discussion forum-type activities; threads where you can add a written comment about a topic; test-yourself weekly quizzes. In some cases, if you complete the course you may be able to purchase a completion certificate as evidence of this. MOOCs have educators or online facilitators who guide participants through the course. In the USA, MOOCs are delivered by Coursera and Edx; in the UK the main provider is currently FutureLearn.

Some MOOCs offered on a regular basis through FutureLearn which may be of interest to English language learners are:
Exploring English Language and Culture, a MOOC offered by the British Council. Next course starts on 2nd February 2015.
A Beginner’s Guide to Writing in English for University Study, a MOOC offered by the University of Reading. Next course starts on 19th January 2015.
Study Skills for International Students, a MOOC offered by the University of East Anglia. Next course starts on 24th November 2014.

If you have a question related to academic life and study in the UK and you can’t find the answer in the Prepare for Success learning resources, write it on the Question Wall and we will try to answer it here in the blog next time.

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