What is a MOOC?
A MOOC is a rather clumsy acronym (it actually means "Massive On-line Open Access Course" for a real innovation in education.
MOOCs are, in effect, university-level courses, taught by (almost always) university staff (and there are now MOOCs from a wide variety of different universities, in the US and the UK, and across the world.)
Essentially, anybody can sign up to a MOOC course - they are usually entirely free - and participants "take classes" by reading material, watching videos, doing some independent backgrounds reading, and even answering the questions set by the lecturers, to test your own progress as you go along.
Because these courses are all delivered on-line, there is no particular day or time that you need to attend, but you can fit your study time in across a week (they are typically weekly programmes, though one MOOC can run over many weeks) .
With a MOOC comes usually an on-line discussion forum for all participants, in the form of a bulletin board - members posting comments and questions in a long series, with the possibility of discussion between them. And therein lies the weakness of most MOOCs, as they usually operate - although a face-to-face discussion and debate with other studentis is where a lot of the real learning in education comes from, there is nothing the equivalent of seminar group with a MOOC.
Until now, that is.
Because Falmouth Cafe Sci, in conjunction with the Falmouth Polytechnic, are proposing to run a seminar-style discussion group, at the Poly in October, in conjunction with the University of Southampton MOOC on "Shipwrecks and Submerged Worlds" (You will find details of the course itself, the tutors etc, by clicking HERE.).
It will be a Do-It-Youself seminar, with no expert leaders present - they are on-line - but the opportunity to talk with others with commin interstes - and even to put questions to the tutors, on-line, either as individuals or as a group..
Once the course is concluded - and perhaps given some time for stragglers to catch up - some members of the Soujthampton team wil, then come to Falmouth to give a talk, with our trademark extended Q&A session to follow, as part of the Cafe Sci programme, for 2014-15
The "Shipwrecks" theme seems a natural for this community in Falmouth. But it is worth browsing the other courses running from Future Learn in the near future; they are listed HERE. If there is sufficient interest in any one of them, we can easily run another parallel group.