It is really gratifying to know that registration has now opened for the Portus MOOC, with the course actually starting in May. A huge amount of effort has been expended in getting us to this stage. Filming sessions in the field with our students during the 2013 Portus Field School was intensive and, as I hope you will agree, hugely rewarding and since then we have been assembling other materials and thinking of ways to bring you closer to the site and our activities there.
One of the great thrills of the MOOC for me is that we will be engaging with a very diverse range of students from across the world. Indeed it is somewhat ironic that a site that was a dominant hub of commercial activity in antiquity should become a key focus of academic debate and learning in the 21st century. Since I guess that it is all too easy for us to become too centred in our own research to the exclusion of others, I am really pleased that we are going to be giving so many people from different walks of life a flavour of the excitement that we all feel in working at Portus. It builds upon the public profile for the site that we and our colleagues at the Soprintendenza Speciale per I Beni Archaeologici di Roma are actively trying to encourage. But I also hope that course participants will come away from the Portus MOOC understanding why we firmly believe that archaeology is an intellectually challenging field of study that is unique in the way that it allows its practitioners to build up a wide range of useful life skills.
You can sign up on the FutureLearn website now. I look forward to seeing you in May!