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Mooc-hing about online

I’ve just started on a MOOC. Know what it is? It stands for Massive Open Online Course and provided you don’t want a certificate at the end, it’s all free. Sponsored by universities and other institutions across the world, the various systems allow you to access hundreds of courses that seem to last on average about 4-5 weeks and take up around 2-3 hours a week. A great way to increase knowledge and skills in the lockdown. Google to see what you can find to do.

My MOOC is about the life and times of Thomas Jefferson who was the author of the US Declaration of Independence in 1776. I’ve always had a love of American History and this course is delivered by the University of Virginia, close to where Jefferson lived. It examines his political and religious philosophy, what he brought to the post Boston revolutionary tea party, and the contradictions between his famous phrase ‘all men are created equal’ and the fact of his being a slaveholder. Now seen across the democratic world as a key liberal thinker, some of his contemporaries couldn’t bear him.

In the Connexional Safeguarding Team we are beginning to think much more about harnessing technology to deliver safeguarding training. It was always on our agenda but Covid-19 has accelerated our ambition to deliver courses online. We are about to start delivering Foundation Module Train the Trainer training and more locally it’s good to see London District offering an online course on how to promote online safety!

This style of training won’t necessarily suit all, but with a mixture of videos, short presentations and the equivalent of PowerPoint slides this is a good foundation. Throw in interactive exercises and discussion forums, you have the online equivalent of a break out group or university seminar.

The only downside is that the format may limit the sustained consideration of case studies which safeguarding course learners tell us is one of the real benefits of face to face Foundation and Advanced level courses. The case studies inject a dose of reality to match the more theoretical learning. Our challenge will be to offer those ‘real’ opportunities in our new ‘virtual’ world.

Wherever you’re reading this take a look at your District websites to see what online courses may be coming available. And if you are not a safeguarding person, but want to know more about how the church is aiming to protect children and vulnerable adults, the Connexional website is a great place to start.

Happy purposeful mooc-hing!

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