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Cultural Studies Online: Get to Know Other Cultures by Learning with MOOC Students from Around The World

What is culture? How can you best understand a country´s national identity? This FutureLearn online course explores eight countries and their culture.

Cultural Studies Online: Get to Know Other Cultures by Learning with MOOC Students from Around The World
Picture: chezbeate/pixabay

Cultural Studies explores culture from an interdisciplinary perspective. It includes elements of language, anthropology, art, and many other scientific areas.

It gained in importance in the 1960s through the work of several key scientific scholars in the UK. In today´s digital age, the University of Bristol offers an introductory online course (MOOC, massive open online course) via FutureLearn.

The four-week course is taught by a team of 12 cultural experts who explore the cultures of eight countries through selected books, images, slogans, and monuments.

We have asked the lead educator, Gloria Visintini from the University of Bristol´s School of Modern Languages, about the details of the course.

"Knowing Other Cultures Helps to Understand the World Around Us"

Edukatico: Ms. Visintini, why should people get to know other cultures?

Gloria Visintini: There are many reasons why people should get to know other cultures. The main one for me is that getting to know other cultures can help us understand the world around us and become more tolerant of our differences. 

Edukatico: What is the best way to truly understand another culture? Is it always essential to learn the language?

Gloria Visintini: There is not just one way to understand another culture. Cultures are complex and should be explored through a range of vehicles. 

Language learning is only one of them, albeit an important one. But to understand another culture, one should also explore its traditions, history, social dimension etc.

Edukatico: Your online course "Cultural Studies and Modern Languages" on the FutureLearn platform gives an introduction to cultural studies. What are the main topics participants in the course will explore?

Gloria Visintini: The course explores eight countries by looking at some of the slogans, books, monuments and images which emerged from them over different historical periods.

Intro to the online course

Students from Around the World Will Learn From Each Other´s Cultures

Edukatico: Who would most likely benefit from your MOOC and why? Is there a specific learner profile for the course?

Gloria Visintini: The course is open to anyone and ideal for those who are thinking of taking a degree with us at Bristol. 

Cultural Studies and Modern Languages gives people a taste of what it is like to study towards a BA in Modern Languages. So there is no specific learner profile for the course.

Edukatico: There are learners from many different countries who are expected to participate in the course. To what extent can the diversified background of participants enrich the learning experience?

Gloria Visintini: Having learners with a range of backgrounds is a wonderful way to learn about each other’s cultures

Indeed, people on the course get the chance to discuss the course content with other learners and, in doing so, they find out about people’s views or gain insights from their own home country or experience.

Edukatico: Thank you and all the best for your MOOC!

The online course re-starts on the FutureLearn platform on November 6, 2017. It is free to learn and offers learners to purchase an optional certificate.

The course explores countries from Europe to Russia and Latin America. Learners in previous versions of the course have found the online learning experience in this course to be fun.

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