Lower Sixth girls produce innovative Elective MOOC

With the aim of developing opportunities to pursue new and exciting avenues of study beyond the curriculum, the now well-established Elective Programme offered a group of Lower Sixth girls the chance to produce their very own Elective MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), a digital course in which all the teaching and learning takes place through a variety of online materials, podcasts, recorded discussions, uploaded articles and videos.

11 September 2019

Poetic Modernism was chosen as the topic of the MOOC with the aim of exploring key works of poetry belonging to modernism, a highly significant and influential cultural and literary movement in a six-week digital course.

Head of the Elective Programme, Dr Andrew Atherton commented, 

“The Elective MOOC stemmed from a desire to find new and innovate ways to utilise our extensive digital infrastructure so that it has maximum benefit on teaching and learning. I initially approached certain girls hoping to read English at university in the then Lower Sixth with the idea of collaboratively creating an online course, or MOOC, on Poetic Modernism, which would involve recording class discussion, creating audio PowerPoints, writing articles, and recording podcast-style discussions. Characteristically of Downe House girls, they were very excited by the prospect!  

We got to work and over the course of a term created all the content, which I then edited and collated into a Microsoft OneNote. The aim was to show our students just how fun Poetic Modernism can be and expose them to new and interesting ideas in a completely innovative digital environment. It is, as far as I’m aware, the first in-house MOOC created by a secondary school, which are typically produced by universities.” 

As well as being hugely beneficial for the students who took part, the MOOC is also a highly innovative way to teach others, with the completed MOOC becoming an Elective Programme module in its own right which is now included in the choice of modules for the Upper Fifth students who are taking part in the Elective Programme this term. 

Find out more about the Elective Programme 

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