Educating through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC)

WHAT IS A MOOC?

A massive open online course (MOOC) is a free online course that supports learning in a variety of different subjects.  The courses are available on FutureLearn, which is the UK’s social learning platform, wholly owned by the Open University, UK with the benefit of over 40 years of their experience in distance learning and online education. The aim is to connect learners from across the globe with educators and with each other. 

You can buy a Statement of Participation for these online courses — a personalised, printed certificate to show that you’ve taken part. You must mark more than 50% of all course steps as complete and attempt all test questions to be eligible to buy a statement of participation.

WHAT ARE THE BRITISH COUNCIL MOOCS? 

The British Council is working closely with FutureLearn and its university partners to facilitate students’ access to British Council English language content and assessment. 

Our next online MOOC is the Social Enterprise: Growing a Sustainable Business free online course starting 07 August 2017.

Exploring English: Shakespeare

Our free, six-week online course: Exploring English: Shakespeare, looks at the life, works and legacy of William Shakespeare, while giving participants the chance to practise their English language skills.

The first week looks at Shakespeare’s life and times, using two short documentaries to take you on Shakespeare’s journey from his birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon to the Globe Theatre in London. For the rest of the course, we look closely at a different play each week. Shakespearean actors from around the world will help us explain and explore the universal themes in Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest and Macbeth.

Our video tutor will guide you through the course and look at the legacy of words and phrases that Shakespeare introduced to the English language. Short quizzes will check your and you’ll be asked to share your ideas and opinions on the topics Shakespeare raises.

The course is being run in partnership with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. The course date will be published here soon.

Understanding Language: learning and teaching

What is language? How do we learn meaning in a new language? What is easy and hard about learning another language? And what is the best way to teach other languages?

This free online course suggests some answers to these questions. Understanding language: learning and teaching is aimed at graduates with an interest in the development of languages and language teaching. The course started on 24 April 2017.

It has been developed by the University of Southampton and the British Council, and draws on their exciting joint online course, MA in English Language Teaching.

It will give you a taste of postgraduate study in the field of English language teaching. However, no prior knowledge is required to take part in the course and we welcome anyone who is curious to know more about language learning and teaching.

COURSE OVERVIEW

The course takes place over four weeks. It 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. How has English achieved this position? What are the implications of the spread of English for policy, teaching and other languages?

The course includes quizzes, activities, discussions and videos filmed around the world. The videos feature experts such as British Council teachers, and staff and students at the University of Southampton.

During the course, you will hear different voices sharing their ideas and opinions – and we want to hear yours too. How do you use language in YOUR life? What is YOUR experience of language learning and teaching? Join us – to discuss effective language learning and teaching.

SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

If you are a fully participating learner in this course, you will be eligible to apply for a scholarship to cover part of the MA fees. You will find out more when you join the course.

Understanding IELTS: techniques for English language tests

Anyone thinking about taking an English language test will find this course particularly useful, but all English language learners will benefit from the tips and advice given in the course.

Understanding IELTS: techniques for English language tests is a six week long online course which started on 29 May 2017.

The course focuses on the IELTS test (International English Language Testing System). IELTS is the world’s most popular English language test for higher education and global migration. IELTS is accepted by over 9,000 organisations worldwide including universities, employers, immigration authorities and professional bodies. Over 2.2 million IELTS tests were taken globally last year.

This course will take you through each stage of the IELTS test — reading, writing, speaking and listening. At each stage there will be advice from our video tutor and a team of experienced IELTS educators. You will also be asked to share your experiences, tips and opinions with other learners.

COURSE OVERVIEW

By the end of the course, you will:

  • be familiar with all parts of the IELTS test
  • have some useful tips to help you achieve your IELTS goals
  • understand how the IELTS test is assessed
  • have an opportunity to have your written and spoken English assessed by other learners.

The British Council has over 80 years’ experience in English language teaching and assessment and delivers IELTS tests in more than 100 countries. The course draws on the British Council’s expertise in online learning and will give you the opportunity to purchase a Statement of Participation.

Use the hashtag #FLEnglishIELTS to join and contribute to social media conversations about this course.

Exploring English: language and culture

The Exploring English: Language and Culture free online course is for people who are learning English and who are interested in finding out more about British culture and improving their English language skills. The course started on 03 April 2017.

The course uses short videos to present a different topic each week, including English as a global language, the environment, entrepreneurship and literature. Filmed in Great Britain, these videos will help you to develop your listening skills as you watch authentic examples of people speaking English. Our experienced tutor will examine some of the language used in the videos and will draw your attention to useful points that will help you improve your spoken and written English.

The course does not follow a language syllabus but takes authentic English in context as its starting point. Short quizzes and discussions will help you measure your understanding and practise your English throughout the course. At the end of each week you will be asked to describe your own feelings and experiences about that week’s topic in a short piece of writing.

The course draws on the British Council’s expertise in online learning. It is one of three courses from its Exploring English course collection.

You can find out more about this course in Chris Cavey’s post for the FutureLearn blog: 3 tips for getting the most out of Exploring English.

Use the hashtag #FLlearnenglish to join and contribute to social media conversations about this course.

Teaching for Success: Lessons and Teaching

Our free online course: Teaching for Success: Lessons and Teaching is for English language teachers around the world. It will help you develop the skills and practices you need for your continuing professional development (CPD).

In the program we will look at the 12 professional practices for CPD on our teacher development framework.

The four week course which starts on 11 September 2017 focuses on the following four professional practices:

  • Planning lessons and courses
  • Managing resources
  • Managing the lesson
  • Taking responsibility for professional development.

Learn with English language teachers worldwide

Each week will focus on one of these practices. Short video interviews with experienced teachers will be combined with classroom films from around the world to illustrate the main points of each week.

You will be asked to share your own experiences and opinions as you become part of a global community of English language teachers discussing what leads to success.

The course draws on the British Council’s many years of expertise in teacher training and development around the world. It will be useful for teachers of English at primary, secondary or higher levels

Teaching for Success: Learning and Learners

Our free online course: Teaching for Success: Learning and Learners is for English language teachers around the world. It will help you develop the skills and practices you need for your continuing professional development (CPD).

In the program we will look at the 12 professional practices for CPD on the British Council’s teacher development framework.

The course start date will be published here soon.

The four week course focuses on four professional practices:

  • Understanding learners
  • Knowing the subject
  • Using inclusive practices
  • Understanding national policies and practice.

Learn with English language teachers worldwide

Each week will focus on one of these practices. Short video interviews with experienced teachers will be combined with classroom films from around the world to illustrate the main points.

You will be asked to share your own experiences and opinions as you become part of a global community of English language teachers discussing what leads to success.

The course draws on the British Council’s many years of expertise in teacher training and development around the world. It will be useful for teachers of English at primary, secondary or higher levels.

Teaching for Success: the Classroom and the World

Our free online course: Teaching for Success: the Classroom and the World is for English language teachers around the world. It will help you develop the skills and practices you need for your continuing professional development (CPD).

In the program we will look at the 12 professional practices for CPD on the British Council’s teacher development framework.

The four week course started on 29 May 2017 will focus on four professional practices:

  • Integrating ICT
  • Promoting 21st-century skills
  • Using multilingual approaches
  • Assessing learning.

Learn with English language teachers worldwide

Each week will focus on one of these practices. Short video interviews with experienced teachers will be combined with classroom films from around the world to illustrate the main points.

You will be asked to share your own experiences and opinions as you become part of a global community of English language teachers discussing what leads to success.

The course draws on the British Council’s many years of expertise in teacher training and development around the world. It will be useful for teachers of English at primary, secondary or higher levels.

Social Enterprise: Business Doing Good

Our free course: Social Enterprise: Business Doing Good is a must for anyone who wants to understand more about what social enterprise is and its relation to sustainable development. You will learn how to evaluate social enterprise in the context of global and local problems. If you work with social enterprise or are thinking about launching a social enterprise, this course provides a valuable foundation.

The three week course started on 05 June 2017.

What and how will you learn?

Social Enterprise: Business Doing Good includes a mix of theory, practical information and case studies from around the world. You will assess different definitions and models of social enterprise and evaluate their social impact. Video interviews with experts and practitioners, articles and discussion steps will offer you the opportunity to learn and engage with other learners on key concepts and ideas.

By the end of the course, you will understand the key concepts related to social enterprise and how to assess the social impact of a social enterprise model.

This course is prepared by Middlesex University Business School, in collaboration with researchers at the Jindal Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship and the social enterprise Living in Minca, and with funding by the British Council.

Social Enterprise: Turning Ideas into Action

Our free course: Social Enterprise: Turning Ideas into Action is a must for anyone who wants to launch a social enterprise. It will help you understand the problem your social enterprise is trying to address, consider the level of innovation in your idea, and build your business plan and your team.

The three week course started on 03 July 2017.

What and how will you learn?

Social Enterprise: Turning Ideas into Action includes a mix of theory, practical information, and case studies from around the world. You will also learn about the legal and marketing considerations as you prepare to take your idea to market.

By the end of the course, you will develop a plan for turning your social enterprise into action and there will be a competition to find the best learner-produced plan.

This course is prepared by Middlesex University Business School, in collaboration with researchers at the Jindal Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship and the social enterprise Living in Minca, and with funding by the British Council.

Social Enterprise: Growing a Sustainable Business

Our free course: Social Enterprise: Growing a Sustainable Business is a must for anyone who wants to understand how to scale and sustain a social enterprise. You will learn how to evaluate and diagnose your current business model, identify your challenges, and develop strategies to grow your social enterprise, and evaluate its impact.

The three week course starts on 07 August 2017.

What and how will you learn?

Social Enterprise: Growing a Sustainable Business includes a mix of theory, practical information, and case studies from around the world. You will learn how to map your stakeholders, consider partnership opportunities, and manage change. You will also consider different marketing and communications strategies, how to find talent, and different sources of funding and investment.

By the end of the course, you will be prepared to take your social enterprise to the next level.

This course is prepared by Middlesex University Business School, in collaboration with researchers at the Jindal Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship and the social enterprise Living in Minca, and with funding by the British Council.

How to Succeed in the Global Workplace

The British Council and The University of Sheffield have teamed up to help you succeed when you enter the workplace for the first time. Beginning your career or starting a new job brings to mind lots of questions, so we’ve designed a course to guide you through those initial weeks and months so you can make a really positive start to your career.

The course, How to Succeed in the Global Workplace, is for anyone looking to start work anywhere in the world. It will also provide an excellent refresher to those already in employment, or returning to work after a career break, as you brush up on the most important communication skills needed to step back into the working environment. For undergraduates and graduates it will give you an insight into how to manage yourself successfully and the skills necessary to succeed in the global workplace.

You’ll see videos from employers from small, medium and global organisations, giving you insights from around the world into what they look for from their new employees. You’ll learn how to communicate effectively across cultures in a professional way and discover the skills to build and maintain relationships with colleagues, managers and clients.

This course is highly participative and includes articles for you to read, videos to watch and interactive material with tips to help you feel confident about entering the workplace. There will also be discussions where you can learn from and support each other, self-reflective exercises and quizzes. Throughout the course you’ll be encouraged to collect a portfolio of your work which will help you with developing your future career.

The course started on 08 May 2017.

Requirements

This course is designed for anyone starting work, returning to work, or thinking ahead to the start of their career. It will be of particular interest to those in the early stages of their career, or those who are out of practice and need to update their skills. No prior knowledge or expertise are needed.

Use the hashtag #FLglobalworkplace to join and contribute to social media conversations about this course.

English in Early Childhood: Language Learning and Development

How do very young children best learn English as an additional language while they’re still learning their mother tongue? How and why do children learn best through play? What can parents and practitioners do to enable children to get the most out of a learning experience?

Our free online course, English in Early Childhood: Language Learning and Development will explore how young children learn English and investigate many more aspects of early childhood learning and development.

The course started on 03 July 2017.

CCreate the best environment for young children to learn English

British Council educators will share their insights and experiences, so that you can learn how to best talk to young children; how to create the best environment for them to learn English as an additional language; and how to monitor their progress most effectively.

Through articles, videos and live events you will hear from early childhood experts and parents, and see for yourself how young children learn inside the early years classroom. At every stage, you will be offered tips, advice and downloadable resources.

You will join discussions about child development and early childhood English language learning, so that you have the opportunity to interact live with our experienced educators. Here you will also be able to share your opinions, ideas and questions with other participants.

Draw on the British Council’s English teaching expertise

This free online course draws on the British Council’s expertise in teaching English to learners of all ages including very young children. It also benefits from our experience of creating Learning Time with Shaun & Timmy learning centres, where children aged two to six learn English through play, and a series of educational apps.

Requirements 

This course will be of interest to you if you are: a parent of young children who wishes to support their child learning an additional language; an English teacher or an early childhood practitioner; or someone who is interested in the area of child development and language acquisition.

Join the conversation on social media

Use the hashtag #FLEarlyChildhood to join and contribute to social media conversations about this course.

English for the Workplace

The course; English for the Workplace, is for people who are learning English and who are interested in developing English language skills for employability and workplace contexts. It will help job seekers and young professionals with the English they need.

Each week, we’ll focus on key aspects of English for the workplace. You’ll watch videos and listen to audio recordings of people searching and applying for jobs, preparing for interviews, taking interviews, starting their new job, and working with new colleagues. Our experienced tutor will examine some of the language used and will draw your attention to useful points that will help you improve your English in workplace contexts.

The course does not follow a language syllabus but takes workplace English as its starting point, and offers functional language phrases and real, authentic workplace scenarios. Short quizzes and discussions will help you measure your understanding and practise your English.

Throughout the course you’ll be asked to share your opinions, ideas and questions with other learners. The best way to get the most out of the course is to be prepared to join in and share your experiences. The course started on 10 July 2017.

Join the conversation on social media

Use the hashtag #FLWorkplaceEnglish to join and contribute to social media conversations about this course.

Study UK: a Guide for Education Agents and Counsellors

Develop your knowledge of studying in the UK!

The course; Study UK: a Guide for Education Agents and Counsellors from the British Council will provide international education agents, school counsellors and consultants with advice on all aspects of UK education. Further information is included around becoming a professional education agent for the UK if relevant for you.

It will develop your knowledge of:

  • the UK education and training system
  • the attractions for students in the UK
  • quality assurance systems and how they operate
  • student lifestyle issues
  • welfare and support for international students
  • application processes and entry requirements

Who is the course for?

This course is designed primarily for those counselling students looking to come to the UK to study, including school counsellors, education agents and those interested in becoming education agents. Potential students and learners who are interested in coming to the UK to study will also find the course informative and useful. English at level B1 on the CEFR is required.

The course started on 10 July 2017.

Use the hashtag #FLStudyUK to join and contribute to social media conversations about this course

Becoming a Better Teacher: Exploring Professional Development

Improve your teaching skills by exploring professional development!

Keeping up professional development as a teacher can be hard to fit into a busy timetable. It doesn’t need to be. The course; Becoming a Better Teacher: Exploring Professional Development, broken into simple steps, will help you develop your reflective skills and improve your practice in the classroom.

Join a community of others working in education, share your experiences and grow as a teacher. This is professional development designed to help you respond to your needs and is accessible to everyone whatever level of resource is available in their setting.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to:

  • Reflect on your own beliefs about teaching, learning and professional development
  • Explore the characteristics of successful professional development
  • Apply a range of tools, activities and strategies to reflect on and improve learning and teaching
  • Identify aspects of your professional practice to develop
  • Collaborate with and learn from peers by engaging with communities of practice
  • Develop your own iterative professional development plan

Who is the course for?

This course is relevant for teachers around the world including those from other low-resource contexts. The course starts on 28 August 2017.

Use the hashtag #FLBetterTeachers to join and contribute to social media conversations about this course.