- You need to register for the course on FutureLearn. It would be helpful to set up a personal profile on FutureLearn, and you may want to watch the instructional video on how the courses work: https://www.futurelearn.com/about/how-it-works
- You may want to read this helpful blog post on 6 tips and tools for social learning on FutureLearn
- It is possible to follow this blog. Just click on ‘Subscribe to this blog’. This means that you will receive an email with any new information from this course.
- If you use Twitter, you can engage with us @UoSoceans where we share regular updates and related topics. You can also follow the course hashtag #FLoceans
How to study this course
- use the FutureLearn system
- participate in a course with thousands of other learners
- apply effective study skills.
The FutureLearn How it works video provides an excellent introduction to get you started, and the FAQ link at the bottom of each page will quickly guide you to detailed explanations of really useful features such as being able to Follow other learners.
Participating in the course
This course is organised as four separate weekly topics, but you are free to join in as much or as little as you want or are able. If you miss a week because you were busy, ill or simply not interested in that topic, you have not ‘failed’ the course. You can catch up later or decide to focus on the parts of the course that really interest you. We have provided links to further reading material and other resources; you don’t have to look at these as part of the four hours commitment to the course though, they are there for you to simply explore if you wish to. So there is no wrong way of studying this course, but you need to find your own personal ‘right way’.
There are many opportunities to post your own comments, read what others have written and add replies. However, you may choose to just watch the videos and read the articles. There is no ‘correct’ way to study the course, but we do think that the more effort and time you put in, the more you will get out.
Participating in an online discussion with thousands of other learners can seem overwhelming, so we suggest that you read through no more than two pages of comments before choosing one or two to reply to. There is a ‘Like’ button for every comment, so you may also want to use this to quickly acknowledge good posts. You will also be able to filter the discussion to see the comments that have the most ‘Likes’.
You can comment on any step, but there are also specific discussion activities where you are asked to give your own answer to questions posed by the tutors. We recommend you type these in to a word processor, then copy, paste and post your response before you look at anyone else’s response. That way you won’t be influenced by what they have written or feel that ‘it has all been said already’.
If questions with fact-based answers have been posed, you will usually find that there is a downloadable answer sheet at the bottom of the page. You might want to note your answers down, but there is no need to post them in the comments!
It is a good idea to mark each step as complete before you move on to the next one – it really helps you see how you are progressing through the course.
- Comments should be brief and to the point; no more than two or three short paragraphs. This is a conversation, not a monologue – no one wants to read essays!
- Read your comments and replies all the way through before you post them. If you post in a hurry you may regret it later – you can’t delete or edit your comments.
- Criticise the idea, not the person – and be polite when you do.
- Don’t write a reply that you wouldn’t say face to face.
- Remember that learners vary in culture, age and experience – be tolerant and constructive.
- Not all learners have English as their first language, so always try to write clearly.
- Explain any acronyms you use and avoid jargon if you can.
- If you see a message that you think is offensive, click its ‘Report’ triangle icon. It will be reviewed within three hours by FutureLearn and will be removed if they agree with you.
Effective study skills
One of the great things about FutureLearn is that you can fit your studies around your other activities. Its mobile-friendly design makes it easy to keep up with discussions and fit a single learning step into a few spare minutes. That said, it can be helpful to plan for some dedicated study time each week. Which days or evenings suit you best? Set aside that time and try to avoid letting other activities eat into it.
You will need to actively listen to the videos. We recommend that you make brief notes of the key points as you listen, pausing the video if necessary. You can drag the slider to re-view parts that you didn’t understand the first time. Every video and article has its own comments section where you can ask or look for comments to help you understand. If you prefer, there are also text versions of each video that you can print, read and annotate while you listen.
To summarise, there is no wrong way of studying this course, but you need to find your own personal ‘right way’. The more effort you put in, the more you will get out of this course.
There is a short quiz at the end of each week to help you check your understanding. Every answer has detailed feedback, so you may learn something new even if you choose the wrong answer!
Video controls, subtitles and transcripts
Once you select the triangular ‘Play’ button, you can see a control bar at the bottom of the video screen.
From the left hand side, this control bar allows you to start / pause the video; the speech bubble icon allows you to toggle the subtitles on / off; the sound icon allows you to mute/adjust the sound and arrows icon allow you to play the video full-screen.
You can download the video to watch offline by selecting the ‘Download this video’ link beneath the player.
Each video has a transcript which is available in PDF format from a link under the video.
If you want to give feedback to the University of Southampton team about the content of the course, please post it in the comments on the relevant step. If you want to give feedback about how FutureLearn works, please click on the grey feedback button on the left hand side of the screen in FutureLearn (if you are using a laptop or desktop computer); alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
How long should I spend on this course each week?
Within three hours, it should be possible for someone with no prior experience of this subject to watch all of the videos, read the articles, take part in the discussion steps and complete the quizzes.
Articles and videos that are linked to (either within the text, or at the bottom of the page) are not considered to be compulsory reading and are not included in the time allocation. Likewise, it is very easy to spend a lot of time reading the fascinating comments posted by FutureLearners and members of the course team. If you do not have much spare time, we advise that you skim through the comments on 1-2 pages and perhaps have a look at the most popular comments. (The course materials will remain available to you for a year, so you can return to them later, if you need additional time).
At the end of each week, we have included:
- Explore further – extended reading
These steps contain many links to further sources of information that are available online. There is no expectation that you will read (or watch) all of the links that have been listed. These items are not essential to the course, but we are aware that many learners are keen to develop their knowledge in specific areas. We would recommend that you dip into these steps and when you have participated as much as you wish that you mark them as complete.