Alan Convery, Lead Educator on The University of Edinburgh’s free online course discusses the key issues surrounding Scotland’s 2014 independence referendum and reveals how taking this course can help place you at the heart of the debate.
In just a few months’ time, we will know whether Scotland will stay in the United Kingdom or become an independent country. However, Scotland’s referendum debate can be difficult to navigate. Beyond the claims and counter-claims of the two campaigns, there are also arguably different understandings of what ‘independence’ means for a country the size of Scotland in the 21st century. Our free online course is designed to help people make sense of the issues and place Scotland’s choices in context by looking at other stateless nations like Quebec and Catalonia. We are definitely not attempting to give people the answers, but we are going to try to give them the tools to understand what is going on and find out more.
The centrepiece of this course is our weekly live-streamed seminar. On Wednesdays at 1pm over six weeks, we will bring together a panel of experts from the University of Edinburgh to discuss the issues. Our participants will set the agenda through our discussions and via Twitter. We hope this will allow us to target the areas our participants find most difficult or interesting. We will also be conducting regular opinion polls of our participants to see if any minds are changed over the six weeks of the course.
We warmly welcome anyone who wants to participate in the course. We are hoping for a mixture of Scottish voters, expats and anyone interested in finding out more. In particular, we hope that the Wednesday 1pm seminar will allow school pupils in Scotland to benefit from our resources and direct the conversation.
Although we have structured the course around six themes, we want very much to be led by our participants. The team behind the course is looking forward to shaping the course to answer their questions when we kick off on 25 August 2014.