Getting back in to learning – free courses with the Open University and FutureLearn
UNISON are committed to pointing members towards opportunities for learning. One of our branch Union Learning Reps (ULRs) Paul Hunt recently undertook a free course with the Open University and FutureLearn. Read his experiences below, and consider signing up for a course yourself.
‘I had heard about the courses available through the Open University and FutureLearn after finding their website. What struck me straight away was the wide choice of courses that are available. There are many different courses, covering a massive range of categories. Best of all they are FREE!
They are delivered online through partner universities from around the world. Over 2 million people have undertaken learning through FutureLearn. It is very easy to sign up, and it is clearly stated when the course starts, how long it lasts and roughly how many hours per week it will take.
My previous experiences of online learning haven’t been entirely positive – however this was much more structured, and importantly it was very interactive. Each week you work through the tasks – on this course they were typically reading articles, analysing sets of data, quizzes to test your knowledge, watching short videos and then taking part in the discussions with other learners from around the world!
The course has ‘facilitators’ who respond to comments where they can but do not dominate the discussion. You definitely don’t get the same dynamic as you would in a classroom, and that is a draw back, but the course doesn’t pretend to be the full learning package.
I signed up for the 4 week course ‘Challenging wealth and income inequality’ and found it extremely useful. One of the plus points of doing this is that it is very flexible. It meant I could do it after work in the evenings – some weeks I was able to complete it in one sitting, other weeks due to other commitments had to do a bit here, a bit there – so in that respect it was very helpful.
I would encourage people to consider having a look at these courses. I had a couple of friends ask why I was doing it – my response was I just felt like it and it sounded interesting! Any learning is worthwhile whatever the reason and it has given a taste to sign up for more courses with FutureLearn and to seek out other opportunities. For a charge, they will also send you a certificate which can be used as evidence of Continuing Professional Development and can be added your CV.
These courses are definitely worth considering!‘
For more information visit the FutureLearn website here
To contact your UNISON Learning Reps see the emails below