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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Explore the world’s oceans for free with the University of Southampton MOOC

Published: 28 August 2014

On the 27th October 2014 the University of Southampton's 'Exploring our Oceans' Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) will begin it's second run. The MOOC will allow people to explore our deepest oceans and see our planet as never before. The MOOC will enable anyone to study online, for free, wherever they are in the world.

To take part in our free MOOC, no previous experience is required, there is no admission interview and no need to have ever studied online or even in higher education.

The MOOC, which is being delivered by leading ocean explorers from Ocean and Earth Science at the University, will last six weeks, each requiring around three hours of study per week. The course will have recorded lectures, carefully selected readings, planned learning activities and online formative multiple-choice tests. There will also be a discussion forum based around weekly topics that promote lively debate and help build an online community around areas of interest.

Every week will have a different topic including ‘How do we explore the oceans?’, ‘Why is the sea salty?’ and ‘The Future of the Oceans’. Participants can either choose to complete the whole programme, or elect to dip into particular topics of interest as and when time allows.

Dr Jon Copley, Senior Lecturer in Marine Ecology, says: “Ocean science is as big as the oceans themselves. In this course, you will investigate an underwater realm that’s been unknown for most of human history. You’ll see how the ocean depths are no longer out of reach and how they are connected to our everyday lives. By taking what you’ve learned and discussing it with other people who may be taking the course or your friends and family, you can join in a global debate about the future of our planet.”

Sent in by people engaged in the MOOC in response to the question 'What does the Ocean mean to you?'
A collection of over 1000 images

Get involved!

This run follows the first run in February 2014, where we had over 10,000 people from across the globe engaged in the research. Many also followed our MOOC blog and engaged in further interactive activities such as google hangouts and sending in pictures of what the oceans meant to them. Over 1000 photographs were received from all over the world and were then collated to create an image of our world's oceans.

We were really encouraged by all the schools that participated in the MOOC, using it as an opportunity for group work or discussion in the classroom around the research covered.

Professor Rachel Mills, Head of Ocean and Earth Sciences at the University, says: “Join us online for another six weeks of deep ocean exploration and investigation. We will share the exciting expedition finds and introduce the science of our oceans in an accessible way, whether you are a prospective student wanting a taster of our oceanography degrees or are a lifelong learner with a passion for our oceans. This is an exciting engaging course that anyone can enjoy.”

Black smoker
Black smoker

For participants, the benefits of taking part in a MOOC are clear; they get an engaging educational experience that develops new skills and understanding. In addition, there is no cost, no travel and the timing is flexible so that they can fit study in around their work and other activities. Although there is no official academic credit awarded for successful completion, students will be recognised with a PDF certificate or a digital badge.

The MOOC is open for registration now.  The course will run for six weeks starting from the 27th October.

The Southampton MOOCs will be delivered by FutureLearn, a new company set up by the Open University, which will offer MOOCs by many of the UK’s top universities, including Southampton. By delivering the University’s MOOCs through FutureLearn, it will enable people all over the world to enjoy learning at Southampton through free courses accessible on mobiles, tablets or PCs.

Watch the video below describing the research covered in our Exciting MOOC.

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