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Inspiration on FutureLearn: meet five supportive educators and the learners who nominated them

Every day this week, we’ve be announcing the shortlisted nominations in the FutureLearn Inspiration Awards. So far we’ve unveiled the Inspiration at Workin Education and at Home categories. In our final instalment, we reveal the five educators shortlisted in Inspiration on FutureLearn, alongside the five learners we met yesterday.

FutureLearn Inspiration Awards - Shortlist: on FutureLearn

In this category, we asked FutureLearners to tell us about the learner or educator they’ve enjoyed meeting on FutureLearn – the people whose comments have stood out for their wit or insight. We had so many nominations in this category that we decided to shortlist five learners and five educators. Today, we look at the educators:


Dan Banik, University of Oslo, nominated by Ovie in Nigeria

Dan is lead educator on What Works: Promising Practices in International Development

Dan and Ovie

Ovie (right) says: “Dan’s presentations and response to discussions and questions made me more and more interested in FutureLearn. I have since studied more courses, which have helped me immensely in my current role as a Program Officer at an NGO.

“I can now manage my team better when we go out on fieldwork. The vast understanding I got on measuring true success in development has well informed me on monitoring and evaluating projects and their impacts in communities in my country.

“This is one of the best things that has happened to me and it was ignited by Dan. I hope I can get an opportunity to meet him some day to say a heartfelt thank you for his inspiration.”


Hilary Homans, University of Aberdeen, nominated by Sahr in Liberia

Hilary is lead educator on Africa: Sustainable Development for All?

Hilary and Sahr

Sahr (right) says: “The materials Hilary brought together, coupled with the responses she provided, helped me so much that I am still reading and following the topic, especially youth employment.

“She inspired me by linking me to other materials like the song by a Zimbabwe singer on corruption, and by responding to my concerns in her simple and clear way of speaking, summarising materials.

“She brought together speaker panels, video presentations, actual people and stories. She really took time to view posts and give genuine responses, which made the course discussions very lively.”


Pierre Binétruy, Université Paris Diderot, nominated by Valeria in Mexico

Pierre is lead educator on Gravity! From the Big Bang to Black Holes

Pierre and Valeria

Valeria (right) says: “At school, I didn’t like the topic of the Big Bang and black holes. It was difficult for me to understand it because my teachers didn’t explain it to me in an appropriate manner. But when I started to take this course, Pierre changed my perspective about life.

“I realised that this topic is fun and really interesting – it answers many questions that I had before.

“What I like the most about his teaching method is that it is very practical, concise and inspiring. His examples are easy to understand and made me realise that science is around in the little things of my daily life.”


Sue Black, University of Dundee, nominated by Theresa in the USA

Sue is lead educator on Identifying the Dead: Forensic Science and Human Identification

Sue and Theresa

Theresa (right) says: “Sue was always there to lend a helping hand. The course material was difficult, but she had a way of explaining the subject matter that made one want to continue learning more.

“There were some difficulties I experienced in being able to physically carry out some assignments, but I felt even though it might have not been the best result, it was a learning curve and it was the effort that counted.

“Her wonderful sense of humour was the key, as with all the educators. Being able to make a person comfortable enough to ask questions without feeling foolish for asking. Her responses always made me smile. She took the time to answer the questions, offering alternative thoughts and ideas, which I, as a learner, needed to better understand the subject matter.


Tony McEnery, Lancaster University, nominated by Claire in the UK

Tony is lead educator on Corpus Linguistics: Method, Analysis, Interpretation

Tony and Claire

Claire (right) says: “Having scraped through a Linguistics degree at Lancaster in the 1980s, I always felt that I had let the university down by not working to my full potential. Through his excellent tuition, Tony has given me a second chance. He has also given me access to some great tools that weren’t available at Lancaster all those years ago.

“I struggle with a busy job and home commitments, but Tony has delivered the course in bitesized chunks that I have been able to do on my train commute. His easy-going manner has given me confidence to tackle a subject that I have not touched for 30 years, and has proved that academics are actually quite approachable!”


So that completes the FutureLearn Inspiration Awards shortlist. Come back next week to find out who our winners are.

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