Want to build an app? There's a MOOC for that

Barney Grainger reports on the fantastic feedback we've received on our first four MOOCs offered through Coursera
Students taking online course
91% of students rated our courses ‘Good’, ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent’
The MOOCs lasted six weeks and offered weekly video lectures, multiple choice quizzes and projects, and lively discussion forums

The New York Times named 2012 ‘The Year of the MOOC’, and since 2012 the University of London International Programmes has been working with Coursera, the largest MOOC platform, to deliver four exciting new short courses which attracted nearly 250,000 students in 160 countries around the world.

MOOC stands for ‘massive open online course’ and these short courses are different to the International Programmes’ full distance and flexible degrees because they are ‘open’ (anyone can register to take one), ‘massive’ (they often attract tens of thousands of students per course) and are completely free to take. Coursera is the biggest MOOC platform provider, offering 400 MOOCs with academic content from over 90 of the best university partners in the world to five million students.

The University of London International Programmes developed and delivered four MOOCs through Coursera in June 2013, each of which was a free subject introduction to one of our full degree programmes. We invested in these MOOCs in order to trial new ways of delivering learning and to provide opportunities for new students to get a taste of University of London education.

Our four MOOCs are listed below with the related degree programme in brackets:

The MOOCs lasted six weeks and offered weekly video lectures featuring academics from the University of London’s federal Colleges (UCL, Goldsmiths, Royal Holloway, and Birkbeck), multiple choice quizzes and projects, and lively discussion forums. A total of nearly 250,000 students signed up for our MOOCs, with the USA, India, UK, Brazil and Spain making up the top 5 countries where the students lived . The majority of our Coursera students were in their 20s-30s, in work, and wanting to study to update their work-related skills.

"I'm now working towards releasing my first app on the iPhone thanks to this course.”

We received some fantastic feedback, with 91% of students rating our courses ‘Good’, ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent’. Here are just some of their comments:

“The instructors were fantastic and I thought the demonstrations and examples were very creative, relevant and fun. Most importantly, this course got me to start programming again and I'm now working towards releasing my first app on the iPhone thanks to this course.”

“[I really liked] the excellent quality of the materials: books, videos, quizzes, etc, and the fact that it was a continuous dialogue between teacher and students (the weekly forums and discussions)”

“I liked the format of the course. The instructor would establish context and then analyze the photographs within that context. I loved the analysis. I loved the questions posed. I want more of this.”

“The course's subjects were very interesting and there were lots of additional materials to broaden every theme, to go deeper. This is a well done and very demanding course.”

We are in the process of choosing more MOOC topics to offer. These will not give credit towards University of London qualifications but will provide the opportunity to get a taste of these subjects.

We hope to launch the new MOOcs, along with updated sessions of our four original MOOCs throughout 2014, so watch this space!