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FutureLearn announces new courses

The following free, online courses will open for registration on FutureLearn, the first UK-led MOOC (massive open online course) provider.

Register here.

Start Writing Fiction

The Open University

Start date: 27 October

Length: 8 weeks, 3 hours per week

This practical, hands-on course aims to help you to get started with your own fiction writing, focusing on the central skill of creating characters. You will listen to established writers talk about how they started writing and consider the rituals of writing and the importance of keeping a journal. You’ll learn how to develop your ideas and the importance of reflecting on writing and editing, and you’ll hear other writers talking about their approaches to research and consider ways of turning events into a plot. You’ll also have the opportunity to review and comment on the work of fellow writers, and receive peer feedback on your own story, learning the importance of reading as a writer and how to receive and respond to feedback.

Cracking Mechanics: Further Maths for Engineers

University of Bristol

Start date: 10 November

Length: 6 weeks, 3 hours per week

The aim of this free, online course is to introduce you to some of the physics and maths that engineers find useful. The content comprises: parts of A-level and high-school level mathematics and further mathematics (mechanics); the physical laws which this mathematics is used to model; and examples of how these skills are employed in mechanical, aerospace, civil, environmental, materials and electrical engineering. You’ll learn mathematics skills like: calculus (integration, differentiation, and solving differential equations); trigonometry (e.g. resolving forces); and geometry (calculating where things are). You’ll learn laws of physics like Newton’s laws of motion and the laws of thermodynamics. Finally, you’ll see how these tools and principles allow engineers to design: planes, cars, skyscrapers, bridges, dams, ICT networks, self-healing materials, robots, water treatment systems, wind turbines, hydro-power systems, biofuel plants.

Our Changing Climate: Past, Present and Future

University of Reading

Start date: 10 November

Length: 5 weeks, 3 hours per week

Since early humans first moved out of Africa, the world’s climate has had a continual impact on our history. Now, the climate itself is being shaped by civilisation. This free, online course will take you on this fascinating journey through time. Over five weeks, we’ll explore how climate shapes the way we live, the food we eat, the water we drink, and the cities in which we live. From the fundamental science of the atmosphere to the social, economic and political consequences of climate change, our expert archaeologists, scientists, geographers and engineers will guide you. We’ll start with an overview of the climatic system, how it’s changed over time and how it’s predicted to change in future. Then, we’ll focus on the impact of climate change on our lives. Finally, we’ll take a look at policy – why it’s needed, what’s been done and what’s next.

Understanding Language: Learning and Teaching

University of Southampton and the British Council

Start date: 17 November

Length: 4 weeks, 3 hours per week

What is language? How do we learn meaning in a new language? What is easy and hard about learning another language? What do we know about effective teaching for language learning? This free, online course will ask these questions and suggest some answers. You’ll find out what makes the teaching and learning of a language effective. The course will introduce you to some of the latest ideas in research and practice in language learning and teaching. We will:

  • Explore second language learning and what it means to learn language
  • Consider language classrooms and how teaching affects our language learning
  • Look at the use of technology in teaching, and its benefits and challenges for language learning.

Finally, we will investigate the case of English – the most widely learnt and taught language in the world. The course will give you a taster of some of the ideas covered in the MA in English Language Teaching – a joint online course from the British Council and University of Southampton which offers postgraduate study in Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching.

Teaching Computing Part 2

University of East Anglia

Start date: 17 November

Length: 4 weeks, 2 hours per week

With the introduction of a new subject, Computing, to British schools in September 2014, many schools are considering how to best prepare their staff for this change. This free online course aims to prepare teachers to deliver the new UK  curriculum effectively to children in years 5, 6, 7 and 8. With a mixture of subject knowledge and pedagogical advice, this course is aimed at both ICT specialists and primary teaching non-specialists.

* Please note: This is part 2 of the course, but you can take it even if you didn’t do part 1.

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