Academic coordinator: FLAN

Following the retirement of Mike Sharples (who will return to The Open University as an Emeritus Professor in March). I have taken on the role of Academic Coordinator for the FutureLearn Academic Network (FLAN).

The network was established in 2013 by a group of academics in order to connect academics and research students based at FutureLearn partner institutions, share research, and explore shared research opportunities. These include: joint research bids and publications, comparative studies using shared FutureLearn data, course designs, and methods to analyse and evaluate courses.

The Network is open to staff and research students based at FutureLearn partner institutions with an interest in research related to the FutureLearn platform.

On 7 November, we held one of our quarterly meetings – this time at the British Council in Central London. Among the many interesting talks:

  • Josh Underwood gave a detailed and considered account of the role of a mentor or facilitator within FutureLearn courses.
  • Matthew Nicholls and Bunny Waring talked about their use of a virtual reality simulation of Rome in the 4th century CE.
  • Phil Tubman introduced a tool for visualising discussion, which is now being used on a course from Lancaster University.
  • Eileen Scanlon and I talked about research ethics on the platform and initiated discussion on changes to the terms and conditions.

The next meeting of FLAN is likely to be in Exeter at the end of February 2018. If you are eligible to be part of FLAN and would like to be involved either in person or remotely, do get in touch.

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