In my last Sunday post, I promised to give you an update on the FutureLearn course on England in the time of Richard III that I’m participating in. I’m three weeks into the course now and have mixed feelings about it so far. The format of the course is very different from the courses I’ve previously taken with Coursera which have been in the form of video lectures. This course is delivered through a mixture of written articles, audio clips and short videos, and this method of learning actually suits me better as I have found it difficult in the past to concentrate on the longer Coursera videos. The disadvantage is that the course feels more impersonal and there’s less direct engagement with the course leader.
I had been looking forward to starting the course as this is one of my favourite periods of history. I understand that the course assumed no prior knowledge so had to start at a very basic level, but so far I’m not sure I’ve actually learned much more about England in the time of Richard III than I already knew at the beginning. Although the third week was more challenging, taking us through the development of the written word and the technicalities of medieval scripts, some of the articles during weeks one and two felt more like pages from a school textbook than something you would expect from the University of Leicester. It does seem that the idea of the course is not to go into a lot of depth but to just provide a starting point for further research and discussion. I’m enjoying reading the comments of other participants (there are some very knowledgeable people taking part) and I think I’m learning more from their comments than I am from the course material itself.
As this is my first FutureLearn course I don’t know if they will all be very similar or if the quality and methods of teaching will vary from course to course. I’ve signed up for some others starting next year so will find out soon.
What I’m reading…
This week I’ve finished two books: the first was The Plantagenets by Dan Jones, a fascinating biography of the Plantagenet monarchs who ruled England from 1154-1399; the other was my re-read of The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett, which I’m pleased to say I loved as much as the first time! I will be starting a re-read of Queens’ Play soon.
I am now reading Larkswood by Valerie Mendes and the second of Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody books, The Curse of the Pharaohs. I’m enjoying both!
What have you been reading? Are you ready for Christmas?