A free course to help teachers and instructors move learning online during the pandemic has attracted a huge following around the globe on The Open University’s part-owned FutureLearn site.
How to Teach Online: Providing Continuity for Students is a three-week course that is attracting massive audiences and great engagement from all across the world, united in the need to continue to engage learners and keep lessons of all kinds going during the lockdown.
Course attendees have been extremely varied: they may be teachers of students following university courses, work-based trainers providing a programme, tutors giving personal tuition or even exercise or music teachers trying to continue with a virtual class.
The course was put together by FutureLearn with help from partner institutions, including the OU’s Professor Martin Weller and Dr Rebecca Ferguson, both with recognised expertise and research in online learning practice and technology. There are four lead educators and 16 mentors.
Supporting one another
Since it has been running the course has attracted well over 30,000 learners from nearly every country around the globe.
The course contains a heavily populated thread simply titled “How do you Feel”, which has been drawing many responses and allowing for learners to support one another.
Dr Ferguson said:
“The course is really providing a supportive community with the overarching tone being friendly and helpful.
“We can all appreciate the completely different challenges, distractions and difficulties people are facing around the world and this is allowing people to draw on tips and lessons from the course and the participants themselves, which is actually helping to further improve the course content as it goes along.”
She said the dialogue, among more than 35,000 comments, is inspiring and positive.
The free course will be re-running from 27 April and is due to be repeated on an ongoing basis for as long as possible.