FutureLearn mooc teaching award for excellence in innovation and impact

David Vince

David Vince

Product Development Manager

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Managing My Money was produced in a little over four months, and comprises 24 hours of learning. At the outset, MOOC production was new to the team, so we had to find our way together.

Team Characteristics

The team embodied collaboration with both LTS and faculty colleagues coming together for a series of extended working group sessions. During these creative sessions, the narrative of the course was developed with LTS staff proposing media assets that could be created to support the learning and teaching. This gave our media assistants in particular the opportunity to showcase their animation and graphics skills. The result is a course with a strong visual identity and high production values.

We also needed a healthy dose of pragmatism as the FutureLearn platform was both undergoing technical development and was external to the OU, meaning we had limited influence to prioritise the development of certain technical features. Originally, we had wanted to develop a toolkit for learners however we had to change course and identify existing interactive tools from the Money Advice Service which we could use instead.

Working intensely together over a short timeframe fostered a spirit of joint endeavour and gave us the momentum to succeed. This meant there was a high level of personal commitment and creativity from the team.

“I thought the course was very well constructed and the information absolutely relevant. It taught me a great deal about personal finance. Many thanks.”

Glyn Watkins

“A really well sequenced and constructed course. I feel a lot more confident about a number of topics and will continue to get a better hold on my finances. Many thanks.”

Andrew Tinson

How did students react and did we teach differently?

You’ll have already seen from the video that the learners responded well to the course. Some learners shared stories about saving thousands of pounds as a result of taking the course and switching financial products, such as mortgages.

Throughout the course, we tried to create the feeling that learners were in the presence of the lead educator, Martin Upton. Martin appears regularly throughout the course in videos, forum comments and in emails to learners. We also recorded Q&A sessions where the team responded to questions submitted by learners. This meant that presentations were personalised to individual cohorts and we took care to use learners’ names in the videos, so they knew the videos weren’t pre-recorded.

“[…] I haven’t felt this sense of achievement for years […]”

Peter Edge

“This course has changed my life.”

Diana Richards

Why was it so popular?

We used a narrative to draw people in and take away ambiguity, so the course was contextualised rather than being a collection of abstract facts and models. Our hope is that enabling learners to engage in activities and discussions closely linked to real life context means that they’ll not only have increased their financial knowledge but will be capable of applying it in the real world.