University launches its third MOOC

By Émer O’Toole, News Editor

Media accounts of social meltdown will be examined in the University of Strathclyde’s third free online course for participants around the world.

The development of breaking stories and how they are reported by different media sources will be one of the main focuses of the ‘Massive Open Online Course’, available in partnership with education provider FutureLearn.

The ‘Introduction to Journalism’ course will begin in September, led by a team of accomplished Strathclyde academics and journalists.

Dr Michael Higgins, Senior Lecturer in English and Journalism, said: “The course is aimed at those curious about journalism and looking to gain a better understanding of what journalism entails. It will provide participants with a behind-the-scenes look at the professional world of reporters and editors.”

The course will include a fictional scenario of a government breakdown and resulting social distress, allowing learners to play the role of journalists reporting on the escalating story.

The MOOC explores six subjects – ‘What is a Good News Story?’; ‘Writing News’; ‘Writing Features’; ‘Opinion Writing’; ‘Politics and Journalism’; and ‘Investigative Journalism’ – and examines these using a case-study running throughout the six-week duration of the course.

Using the fictitious scenario of a computing meltdown, learners will take part in tasks and discussions which reflect real-life situations in journalism.

Dr Higgins added: “Each week contains a variety of learning activities that will introduce concepts, challenge assumptions, facilitate understanding, and hone new skills.

Participants will be encouraged to discuss their thoughts with peers and tutors, generate and edit small pieces of writing, and comment on others’ work.”

Strathclyde’s first MOOC, an “Introduction to Forensic Science” was launched in January this year by academics in Strathclyde’s Centre for Forensic Science and  is FutureLearn’s most popular to date.

The course featured footage of a staged crime scene and the investigatory techniques used by forensic scientists.

The second MOOC – “Understanding Modern Business & Organisations” – explored the global financial crisis and was led by academics in the Strathclyde Business School.

The development of Strathclyde’s MOOCs has been supported by the University’s Learning Enhancement team.

FutureLearn was established in December 2012 as the UK’s first provider of free, high-quality MOOCs.} else {