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SOAS’ first MOOC brings together over 40,000 students to learn together online

12 August 2014

Around 40,000 students from all over the world registered for SOAS’ first ever MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) entitled ‘Understanding Research Methods’.

The aim of the course was to provide support to enable students to develop their understanding and confidence in designing a research project, choosing and executing appropriate methods and assessing its intellectual/academic rigour. In short, the MOOC gets students 'thinking' about research while drawing upon SOAS' rich and unique academic heritage and making it available to a mass audience.

Students were glowing in their praise for the course [sic]:

“It was very useful in gaining an understanding of how research is undertaken as a process”

“Precisely delivered points and assessment system was very good.”

“Great and thorough overview of the research process - the best I have encountered”

“Video lectures were not too long and they were light, constructive and informative.”

“I progressed a lot in preparing for my MSc project. The course prompted me to think about what I was trying to research and how to structure my work. Reviewing the contributions of others gave me some ideas for improvement.”

“Looking at the knowledge which has been shared through this course offered by Dr Rofe and Dr Lee, I first of all sincerely thank the team for the wonderful work they have done. You have really given us knowledge which will stay with us forever and we will use this knowledge in answering different questions which would further help our communities in one way or the other."

Course co-instructor Dr J Simon Rofe, said: “Undertaking the design, development and delivery of a MOOC was a fascinating learning experience as an educator, not least because of the huge range of research projects our students were undertaking. It was particularly heartening to hear from students of how their appreciation of research will allow them to help themselves and their local communities around the globe.”

SOAS developed its first MOOC in partnership with University of London's International Academy and Coursera. The course ran for six weeks and is likely to run again before the end of the year. To sign up, or for more information, please see the Course website, Understanding Research Methods.