MOOCs: Futurelearn – Exploring English by the British Council (Week 2)

Course: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/explore-english-language-culture

This is advertised to take 2 hours, but took me around 40 minutes. If I had spent longer on the discussions, then 2 hours might be about right,

Week 2  Materials: Music

2.1 Introduce the topic, video (1 min 40 secs) with Nicole, the video tutor, introducing the topic. I don’t think Nicole has a second name, but she is clear and I like the idea of having the same person guiding learners through the course.

Discussion under video. There are discussions under nearly all activities and videos. Good in a way, but I don’t see much interaction. Rather learners just post and then leave.

How can the discussions be improved to improve interaction?

2.2 British music and you discussion. There is a ‘like’ and ‘follow’ button, so possible to have more interaction that way. There is some limited interaction when you click on these buttons and see what is happening.

2.3 The SoCo music project. Text plus website as a pre-listening task. With discussion so learners can post their answers. I think that there is a slight discrepancy between the website (all ages) and the questions (young people).

2.4 Video (2 min 34 secs) without questions. Discussion under video where learners can post possible questions. Standard TEFL type question done quite well. Last week the videos were slow to load, but this week work OK.

2.5 Listening practice 1. Match the questions to the answers. We also see Chris Cavey (with picture) giving ‘feedback’ to the answers. Quite nice touch.

2.6. Listening practice 2. Video (1 min 17 secs) (shorter version of above) with some questions (come in 2.7). Another discussion under where students can post answers. I think the number of discussion is perhaps overdone, but maybe this is the Futurelearn style?

2.7. Check your understanding with 5 questions.

2.8. Clauses – watch and read. We see Nicole and clips from the video where clauses such as ‘that’ were used. As Nicole explains them, they also appear on screen (but not very clear!). There is explanation under the video as well. This is a difficult topic!

2.9 Eight questions on clauses. In feedback for Answer 1, Chris links to this site: https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/clause-phrase-and-sentence/verb-patterns/relative-clauses

2.10 Did you notice – passive forms (which were done in Week 1). This is a nice touch  – recycling what was done the previous week.

2.11 What do you think? Another discussion forum! “For your final task this week, I’d like you to think about music and social change.” – But is there that much interaction in the forums?


Overall

Generally a very professional presentation (note the video in the middle with relative clauses could have been done better).

Futurelearn is an easy to navigate site. Buttons turn blue as you complete each ‘step’. It can be a little slow to move from questions to question. The level is a bit vague (around intermediate), and some of the topics are quite difficult – clauses!

Edit

Someone relied to one of my posts, and I got an email notifying me about this. I like this function – you can also edit whether you get emails or not – although the actual level of interaction on the forums still is open to debate.

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