Bristol University launches first MOOC

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The University of Bristol’s first massive online open course (MOOC) will be launched next week.

The free six-week course – Cracking Mechanics – Further Maths for Engineers – is aimed at anyone, particularly sixth formers, who is interested in a career in engineering, maths or physical science.

The course has been designed to complement A-levels and international baccalaureates and is part of the FutureLearn partnership. Students will have the opportunity to find out how engineers use both maths and physics to solve real-world problems.

The University says Cracking Mechanics is perfect for students who want to practice existing skills or to extend their knowledge and understanding. It will also give students the opportunity to become independent learners and enrich not only their subject-specific knowledge, but also their wider experience and skills and prepare them for university study.

Each week is split into bite-sized chunks, taking less than 30 minutes per day, with different themes every week, such as forces, motion or energy. Learners will be able to watch videos, read articles, answer questions, do tests and quizzes, and discuss problems with other learners and help them with their problems too. Assessment is optional.

Dr Laura Dickinson, teaching fellow in the university's department of civil engineering, said: 'Cracking Mechanics will enable students to learn maths skills such as calculus, solving differential equations, trigonometry, resolving forces and geometry, and calculating where things are. Students will learn laws of physics like Newton’s laws of motion and the laws of thermodynamics.

'The aim of the course is to have a go, get it wrong, and learn some new skills and knowledge, it is certainly not to complete every single task perfectly.'