FutureLearn: A beginners guide to writing in English for university study


University of Reading (there is a longer video on Furturelearn)

Steve Thomas, Anne Vicary, Seb Watkins
1. First video (see above) – tutors introduce the course and themselves
2. Second video – about the Furturelearn site.
3. Forum – the features of academic writing
4. Video: The key features of academic writing 1:33 – Steve Thomas
Content, organisation and language  – short and to the point. Quite nice graphics.
5. What ideas would you include in this essay?
Essay title: “Discuss the differences between the way of life in your country now and the way of life in the past”
Discussion forum – some interesting discussions. I wish we could search them!
6. Video: Developing essay ideas, 1:37  (short videos). Is it just a voice over? Very clear.
Did UK (her own ideas) and then those from a student in South Korea
7. Shown a ‘student’ essay – lots of errors, but basic structure there. Needs more content.
Discussion about essay.
8. What ideas has Xiao included in his essay? Video (31 secs)
9. The strengths and weaknesses of Xiao’s first attempt Video (1:46)
Lack of linking words. Some examples of errors corrected. Voice over only, but very clear. Slows down for the important points.
10. Student’s second attempt.
The student has developed the essay – the good and bad things of modern life.
One main focus in each paragraph.
11. Examining improvements in Xiao’s second essay – video (2:16)
Video explaining the improvements, as well as saying how it could be further improved.
12. Main ideas and supporting evidence exercise (text + questions).
Discussion where you are supposed to identify the main idea and supporting evidence in 5 sentences.
13. video: Main and supporting ideas review (1:59)
14. Quiz – fairly simple – talk about ‘paragraph hooks’.
15. Write your own paragraph. Comment on others.


The videos are very short, but quite well done.

This is a course that would fit well with PEUS, maybe even EUS?

The discussions – can be both good and bad. Good that there is a chance at every ‘step’ of the course, but that in itself leads to a lack of community developing.

Was I expecting more language to come out of the videos?