A network for new and aspiring library professionals
The MOOC presentation at our Digital Skills event was very well-received; attendees had a lot of questions for Michelle Maden about the process of creating the MOOC. One theme that emerged was that people wanted to complete MOOCs but struggled to choose one. MOOCs are a significant undertaking in terms of time so it’s important to know that this investment will be worthwhile. That is why we have decided to post MOOC reviews. Emma Suffield, LRC Manager, has kindly contributed this review.
The Literature and Mental Health MOOC that I have just undertaken through Future Learn at The University of Warwick is the first academic work which I have done in quite a few years. I was sceptical about how I would cope with the course while working full time and whether there would be enough support available but there certainly was, as I think this is what MOOCs specialise in, learning at your own leisure.
The MOOC was split into weekly subjects relating to different mental health topics and these were then divided into sub-levels, which I could work through easily step by step at my own pace and self-mark once completed. All sub-levels had an introduction of text and they comprised of either video discussions between the organisers and a guest or texts to read through. Some of these videos were really short but some were 20-30 minutes long which meant I had to complete these at home rather than during breaks at work; there is just not enough time during breaks to listen and work through.
Discussion boards were available for every sub-level and you could follow and interact with other people participating in the course. One down-side to this was that hundreds of people were undertaking the course which meant I couldn’t realistically read everyone’s comments as I would have to sift through pages and pages. It seemed a shame not to get to know everyone studying the course and be able to interact with everyone. Another down-side to this was discussing mental health as it can be a taboo topic and some people are more open than others which can result in conflicting discussions, but, there was no right or wrong answer to whether literature could help mental health, it was all based on personal opinions. There are positives to discussion boards though, being able to write your opinions and share ideas on what you had just ‘studied’ helped to create some fabulous discussions with other learners and feel a sense of achievement.
I chose to undertake this particular course as I am a Chartered Librarian and have a growing passion for literature, especially classics, but also because I work with young people in a school on a daily basis who have to face and deal with issues which sometimes can result in mental health conditions. I also wanted to be able to understand mental health more and how it really can affect people. Completing this course will enable me to recommend poetry, prose and novels to students to help them overcome their issues and support them from a librarian’s perspective. But, the course will also help me as an individual, along with close friends and relatives if we suffer any stresses within life.
After this fabulous rewarding experience I will definitely undertake a MOOC again and have even started looking for another one to inspire me. I would definitely recommend them to anyone, I think they could become quite addictive though!
Thank you Emma for this review. Please get in touch if you would like to review a MOOC for us.