UCT launches next MOOC – What is a mind?

07 May 2015 | Story by Newsroom
Prof Mark Solms.
Prof Mark Solms.

World renowned psychologist Professor Mark Solms will be leading the discussion from 11 May when he teaches thousands of people from around the world during UCT's next MOOC, What is a Mind? To find out the answers to this intriguing question sign up now for this free six-week online course (registration remains open during the entire course).

Participants from over 100 countries, including a healthy representation of South Africans, took part in UCT's first MOOC Medicine and the Arts: Humanising Healthcare, over the past two months.

Drawing in 15 academics, mainly from UCT, Medicine and the Arts showcased UCT as a leading university providing stimulating education in the emerging interdisciplinary field of medical humanities.

Academic convenors Professor Steve Reid (primary health care) and Professor Susan Levine (anthropology) had the somewhat unusual experience last month of running two classes simultaneously: a small face-to-face class and an online class of nearly 4 000.

"The online space is a new and exciting one, with the strangeness of never meeting most [students] physically, but it allows us to have a series of extraordinary conversations, that are located precisely in that inter-disciplinary space that we were aiming for," wrote lead educator Reid to participants after the first week of the course. "I must admit to being somewhat addicted to reading what [students] had to say each day!" At the end of the course, seasoned online learner Jonathan Vernon described his learning experience on his blog post: "Great videos, and graphics, a balance of views, a variety of approaches (video, text, audio, quizzes and assignments), engaging conversations with fellow participants, an extraordinary wealth of speakers, moments of magic, and shock, and inspiration ... The course creators at the University of Cape Town and the support they will have had from FutureLearn should make them deservedly hugely proud."

The Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching's development officer Janet Small said she hoped that when What is a mind? opens next week, UCT would hear from many diverse thoughts on this fundamental question. "If the comments thus far on Mark Solms' blog post about this course are anything to go by, we expect a lively and engaging encounter ahead," she said.

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