Monday, October 14, 2013

And we're off #FutureLearn

FutureLearn After a quick Chatham House Rules gander at the FutureLearn platform last week, I'm up and running with my first MOOC, The Secret Power of Brands.

"Over the next ten weeks, we’ll be exploring our topic step by step, using a variety of tools. There are opportunities to test yourself along the way, to be sure it’s all sinking in, as you learn about the basics of branding. You'll have a chance to use your own creativity. You'll analyse how organisations use their brands. And you'll be assessing the future – both the future of branding and the future of you."

While I am interested in branding, overall I'm less highly motivated by the subject than I am about plant science, so this will be a fairly stiff test for the stickiness of the platform. Tbh I though there was a nice symmetrical irony about this topic too :-) 10 weeks? We'll see...

The spare look and feel of the platform is very iOS7 - Jacob Nielsen might well have things to say about the design. It is definitely lacking in navigation cues, something which needs fixing urgently. The experience was a bit laggy for me too, they're going to have to spend some money on bandwidth. Chunking is a bit uneven, most of the videos a comfortable 2-5 minutes then suddenly an 18 minute chunk of lecture notes (© 2009) on the history of brands.

Assessment in this course so far is 5 simple MCQs at the end of the unit, although with nice feedback for failed attempts.

Verdict so far:  The jury is out.


  1. I signed up for this one as well. Whilst I'm probably more motivated about the subject area than you are I can't see myself sticking through this course. I've never managed beyond week 8 of a MOOC so 10 weeks does feel too long. For me, the whole environment feels too controlled and the pace feels very slow (although this might just be a week 1 thing). However, where's the option to run the video at double or 1.5x speed! I also don't want to read all 400 odd discussion comments - I want to know which comments are worth reading. Where's the classification and voting options on comments! Most importantly for a platform that's sold as being designed specifically for mobile devices why is the Android experience so poor. On the plus side I see these sort of issues are being highlighted at and the FL people are making the right sort of noises about sorting some of this out.

    1. Indeed, early days for FutureLearn. I forgot to add video speed adjustment to my wishlist - I almost always watch MOOC videos at 1.25 or 1.5X (which tells you a lot about online video in this context).

  2. Same here. Coursera videos enable the variable playback speed which is really useful.
    I too have signed up for this Brands MOOC. Partly because I'm interested in the topic, but partly to test out the FL platform given I'll likely be using it soon as we'll be developing MOOCs with them.

    Got to say, was expecting something 'different'. What I got, was a pedagogic model I was working with 7 years ago. So in that sense I'm a bit disappointed.