Wednesday, 19 March 2014

#FLMobiGame - Week 4 - Exploring Massive Open Online Courses

The University of Reading has several exciting free online courses coming up (see here). Also our School (Systems Engineering) is considering couple of online courses and I am a member of the project board supporting the development and delivery of new online courses. I am taken by the idea of a course that will include making a robot!  I have already volunteered to be a tester for the course, who would not want to be a tester for an awesome course like that?

Photo: By Saad Irfan from

We have some ideas for research surrounding MOOCs, which I thought I'd share with our FLMobiGame participants on my Week 4 mid-week email.

Community Building around a MOOC is a topic that I have been interested in. The small team of educators and mentors in a MOOC (such as FLMobiGame) rely on community support to a large extent in facilitating the course. In FLMobiGame 2nd run we are very lucky to have some 'FLMobiGame run 1 alumni' here helping us. We have also seen some fantastic support from our 2nd run participants in the course. Some of them are experienced in programming while some are beginners. Together as a community we are supporting each other in the course.

We have already done some work exploring what is considered "dropout" from MOOC participant's perspective and our paper Dropout: MOOC Participants' Perspective was presented last month (February 2014) at the 2nd European MOOC Stakeholders Summit in Switzerland. We have identified various scenarios of 'dropouts' from our previous work and we are looking to improve our understanding on this too Here is the link

Another interesting thing that we observed from Reading MOOCs is that the engagement patterns of MOOCs in different disciplines vary widely. For example, the engagement patterns of University of Reading's Beginner's Guide to Writing in English and Begin Programming courses are very different. It would be interesting to explore these differences.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and if you want to support our research please leave a message we will get in touch. :)


  1. Hi Tharindu
    Just to let you know that I'm leaving the current run of the Begin Programming course over on FutureLearn.
    I'm finishing up one Coursera course this week and next (submission of course project + peer evaluation) and I also have a new course starting this week that I want to focus on.
    That's going to take up pretty much all of my "MOOC time" over the next few weeks.
    I really don't think my absence from the comments will be noticeable in these last weeks of the course, but it seemed impolite just to disappear without a word :-)

  2. Hi Moira,
    Thank you very much for the message and all your support in the course. We (the whole course team) would like to thank you for all your help. It was lovely to have in the course. I wish you all the very best with other MOOCs and hope to be in touch once our MOOC research project is sorted.