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Things we love 11

At FutureLearn, we’re always on the look out for new sources of inspiration and share what we learn with the world every month in our “Things we love” series. Here, in our final instalment of 2015, our team talk about some of their favourite things from around the web and some of the things they’ve been up to.

SpaceX made history by landing its Falcon 9 stage-one booster rocket back on earth.
SpaceX made history by landing its Falcon 9 stage-one booster rocket back on earth. Photo: SpaceX.

Our inspiration


Who doesn’t love space travel? Not us. On 21 December, SpaceX made history by landing its Falcon 9 stage-one booster rocket back on earth. As one commentator put it: “This is like launching a pencil over the empire states building, in a storm,  having it flip itself midway and then land itself in a shoebox.”

What’s not to love about a team getting their deserved success for pushing the boundaries of engineering and potentially transforming the economics of space travel? Check out the photos.

– Chris Fellingham, Strategy Analyst

Pedagogical theories leaders can learn from

Eugenie Teasley’s research on the links between teaching and leadership is interesting to me as a former teacher now working in a different sector. In this short blog post she explores three pedagogical theories and how these might apply in the workplace. If you’re interested in finding out more, her blog contains a summary of the research she did and downloadable guides and posters.

– Laura Kirsop, Product Manager

Running meetups which encourage diversity in tech

Rosa Fox’s reflections on her experiences setting up and running Codebar meetups in Brighton contain some useful advice and are a welcome reminder that you can make a difference.

5 interview questions you should ask your interviewer

We regularly remind candidates coming for interview at FutureLearn that they should take advantage of this as an opportunity to ask us questions. Matt Butcher suggests five that you can ask your interviewer, which will help you decide whether you want to work at the company you are being interviewed by.

– Joel Chippindale, CTO

Wikipedia’s ‘List of Lists of Lists’

This Inception-like ‘list of lists of lists’ isn’t just a great boredom-killer, it’s also a good resource for pub quiz practice.

– Jess Weeks, Copywriter

Rooftop bug fixing

I loved this story of using a software development approach to investigate a ‘real-world’ project – the kind of problem that relies on trusting many people to do their parts of the job well, to get the whole project finished. The part that says “don’t assume you won’t understand a problem that isn’t in your field” especially resonated with me – a methodical approach to testing will get you a long way even when fixing bugs that aren’t just on your website!

– Nicky Thompson, Developer


This brilliant podcast, which intimately documents the journey of starting a business, is back with a mini series, returning to its original premise of looking at its own company, Gimlet Media. The new season follows founder Alex Blumberg wrestling with topics like getting new investment, diversity and employing your wife.

It is brilliantly compelling and thought-provoking narrative audio from some of the people behind American National Public Radio hits like This American Life. I’m hooked. If you enjoy it, it’s definitely worth going back to the start of the story at season 1, episode 1.

– Matt Walton, Head of Product

10 key design trends for 2016

Really great article on how Apps as we know them will disappear. Making your experience more human. Luxury services will be available to all. Healthy is the new wealthy. Virtual reality will make its mainstream debut in 2016. Design from within.

– Storm MacSporran, Designer

Us Elsewhere

Cryptic Crosswords

A month ago FutureLearn ran an internal Barcamp where anyone in the team could give a talk or run a session. Developer Chris Zetter gave a talk about learning to do cryptic crosswordswhich he has since written about. Every week since, some of the FutureLearn team has attempted to solve a cryptic crossword together.

Seen something lately that you think we’ll love? Share it in the comments below. Want to know more about the way we work? Take a look at all of our “Making FutureLearn” posts.

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