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Episode #65. Saturday July 3, 2021, 11:30 am EDT

Episode Abstract: Are you wondering if massive open online courses (MOOCs) can be designed for active and engaging learning. FutureLearn from the Open University (OU) in the UK offers a unique example of how this may be done. Mike Sharples, the former Academic Lead of FutureLearn, will join us in Episode #65 to discuss the purposeful design of FutureLearn toward social learning as well as the results to date and hopes for the future. In addition, he will discuss his involvement in the annual Innovating Pedagogy reports as well as his career in educational technology. Silver Lining for Learning hosts will have a conversation with Mike about his interests in citizen inquiry, mobile learning, online learning, science education, human-centred design of personal technologies, innovative pedagogy, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, MOOC design, and much more. During the session, Mike will discuss his involvement in nQuire which is a platform developed by the OU in partnership with the BBC to help citizens conduct social or confidential missions that investigate big questions. nQuire is designed to make scientific investigations into the environment, health, technology, media, psychology, food, and the animal kingdom personally meaningful. The platform is now open for anyone to propose a mission and to run it in conjunction with people around the planet. Given Mike’s decades of experience in the field of educational technology, this session is bound to be highly informative, eye-opening, and fast paced. More about our guest and links below the video.

Mike Sharples has a first degree in Computational Science and a PhD from the Department of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Edinburgh. He has held several academic appointments and posts since that time, including becoming director of the Centre for Educational Technology and Distance Learning at the University of Birmingham and then Professor of Learning Sciences and Director of Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Nottingham. Mike Sharples is now Emeritus Professor of Educational Technology in the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University, UK. His research involves human-centred design of new technologies and environments for learning. He inaugurated the mLearn conference series and was Founding President of the International Association for Mobile Learning.  As Academic Lead for FutureLearn he led pedagogy-informed design of the MOOC platform. He was lead author of the Innovating Pedagogy (blog) report series from 2012-2016 and is author of Practical Pedagogy: 40 New Ways to Teach and Learn, published by Routledge. Current projects include nQuire with the BBC, to develop a platform for citizen science investigations (a fusion of citizen science and inquiry-based learning). He is author of over 300 publications in the areas of educational technology, science education, human-centred design of personal technologies, artificial intelligence, and cognitive science. His personal website is

Weblinks applicable to this session:

  1. About nQuire:
  2. FutureLearn:
  3. Innovating Pedagogy reports from the OU:
  4. LinkedIn:
  5. Mike Sharples Homepage:
  6. Mike Sharples on nQuire:
  7. nQuire:
  8. Wikipedia:
  9. Twitter:
  10. Mike Sharples in Google Scholar:
  11. Institute for Educational Technology at the Open University:
  12. Practical Pedagogy: 40 New Ways to Teach and Learn: