University of Sheffield – How to Succeed at: Writing Applications

Futurelearn MOOC
1. Video Welcome from Dr Hilary Jones (3:04).
Fluent speech; perhaps smiles too much?
Qualifier: UK market advice given, but asking for international experiences to be shared in the discussion.
2. How to use Furturelearn video (4:19) (standard one).
3. Meet the educators: five of them. short profile plus a link to their Furturelearn page.
4. Getting to know you discussion (2335 had joined). This message is at the top: “Please don’t post personal or sensitive information though, which could be used to identify you.”
5. Making a start – text – Basic advice, and links to two UK based websites offering careers advice.
6. What do we mean by skills? – text – “Transferable and knowledge-based skills”
7. Key skills
8. Understanding your skills: “What skills do you have? What examples might you use to demonstrate to recruiters that you have these skills? ” – a table with evidence of skills that you have.
9. Share your skills with others: “If you are happy to do so, share an example of one of your skills with other learners in the discussion below.”
10. Analysing job adverts – text – (similar to what we do in EIW type courses)
11. Analysing course descriptions – so this MOOC is also about applying for a course.
12. Have a go – Have a go at analysing a job advert or course description. A advert and a course description are provided, then in the discussion you need to analyse them
13. Research the organisation (video) 2:05.Is it just a voice over? Looks naff. Very UK based  – “UCAS”. Applying for study as well.
14. Researching universities or colleges (text)
15. Positive writing – make an impression (text) 5 tips.
16. Create a personal brand
17. Some final thoughts on preparation  (video) (1.18)

Good points:

  • On the Futurelearn platform which I find easy to use.
  • Videos are short (1-3 minutes)
  • Lots of information; available as downloads (pdf and word documents)
  • Futurelearn platform has a discussion for every ‘step’. As there are 17 ‘steps’ there are 17 different discussions (means discussions can be more focussed).
  • 3 week course; compact; link to next course (How to succeed at: interviews)
  • UK centred (which is good for their own students)

Areas that need work:

  • There are only three videos in Week 1 (four if you include the standard how to use Furturelearn)
  • The first video is fine – basic introduction to the course. Would be good to hear from the other instructors as well.
  • The second video is just a voiceover, with not very good graphics
  • The final video is a summary
  • Lots of pages of text.
  • There are no quizzes at all.
  • There was a activity where we had to analyse a job advert by posting our answers in a discussion. I was expecting the answer to be given in the next ‘step’, probably by a video. But, there was nothing.
  • I could skim through it in half an hour, ticking the complete boxes and downloading handouts. Does not require much, if any critical engagement.
  • I felt no impulse to join the discussions, except for one, and that was because someone near the top had asked a question so I answered it. I did not see much of a community developing.
  • Did not feel global enough – too much about the UK  – ‘UCAS for university applications’.
  • Can job and study applications be combined in one course?


I’m not very impressed.  Not enough use made of video. The discussions are not effectively used. There needs to be some testing of the knowledge that is being delivered.