Exploring English MOOC – British Council

Week 3 of the Future Learn MOOC.
It’s about “Countryside: a green and pleasant land”

Videos are well produced as normal, although in the first one when the topic is introduced by Nicole, I thought we would hear Fernando from Brazil, and Anne-Lisa from Denmark, rather than Nicole just reading out what they said.

First part is vocabulary – and it’s pretty basic stuff – valley, mountain, hill and so on.
We see a video from the Lake District, and the first exercises is whether the words are spoken in the video or not. I don’t think it works – it’s like an elementary English exercises, but people doing this are way above that level.

Then we watch again, and make notes about ‘tourism, industry and climate’. Again there is a forum, so your notes can appear in the forum.

But next part – write a short summary of what you have heard. Repeat from previous forum?

Then we see a video of Snowdonia, fishing villages in Wales, Cairngorms National Park (via funicular), with lots of facts, and the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Island.

Quiz on “The countries of the United Kingdom”! Will this still be valid in a week? Basic comprehension questions.
Then reading text on the UK. The referendum is actually mentioned. Topical. Another forum about national identity.

Gradable (hot, cold) and upgradable (married, freezing) adjectives – video with Nicole. The exercise is quite challenging (at least compared to before), and also brings up the problem of teaching grammar – “Completely awful’ sounds a little strange to my ear. “Absolutely awful’ would sound better”.

Then revision of relative pronouns (Week 2)

Then summary and another forum!


Overall.

This is a very popular MOOC – 100,000 people registered?

The videos are well produced, and the language input is by and large sound.

It does have a bit of a feel of a commercial for ‘visit Britain’ in parts.

Grammar can be problematic, especially when you get into more complex areas.

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