The course is delivered on the FutureLearn social learning platform, a UK-based provider of Massive Open Online Courses [MOOCs] in the global higher education sector. The British Council’s new MOOC for English language learners has attracted the highest number of registrations for a FutureLearn course to date, and helped the platform reach new global audiences.
Sara Pierson, British Council head of English for Education Systems, said “The British Council has taught English around the world for eighty years, but this is certainly the biggest new class we’ve ever welcomed. The course is certainly experimental, but it brings people together in new ways, and that is what the British Council has always done. With students from Burma to Brazil, this will be a very diverse class. It’s great to be able to use new innovation to help so many people not just gain vital life skills, but also a better understanding of the UK.”
The six week course is aimed at intermediate-level English speakers and uses a mixture of videos, short quizzes and discussions to introduce learners not just to the English language, but also British culture. All the videos have been shot in the UK and there are authentic examples of people speaking English in every-day settings. Learners from all over the world get to interact with each other while developing their English vocabulary, reading and writing skills. Teachers and course moderators direct contact with students, creating one big global classroom.
A big part of the course is to encourage students to look at features of natural speech and think about how the English language works, and could be used, in their own use of English. Learners get to share their opinions and listen to interviews. Learners’ written work is assessed by their peers using social media tools.
Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn said, “We’re thrilled at the success of the British Council’s first course on FutureLearn. There’s a huge demand for quality English language teaching around the world, and the British Council’s reputation in this field is naturally a big draw for our learners. ‘Exploring English: Language and Culture’ promises to provide vital language skills for work and everyday life, in a fun and engaging way.”
The course has just started week two, but free registration is still open and learners can catch up quite easily.
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