Using MOOCs to facilitate international lifelong learning for Prehistoric Archaeology

This session took place as part of the 2022 Learning and Teaching Forum Conference.

The presenters were Andy Needham, Iain Barr, Don Henson♰, Becky Knight, Andy Langley, Nicky Milner, and Steph Piper.


Aim: To communicate experiences in building and running an online course for non-specialist learners and explore the type of impact a MOOC can have in the area of international and lifeline learning amongst diverse populations of learners after three years of delivery. Takeaway: The presentation will provide a sense of workflow and time commitment associated with the creation, delivery, and upkeep of a MOOC. The presentation will provide insight into the type and extent of impact that can be generated amongst a non-specialist and diverse audience. We report on the development and delivery of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) via Future Learn. By virtue of limited coverage in school curricula, the extent of knowledge of prehistory amongst the general population can be variable. The MOOC was designed to promote Mesolithic Archaeology, based around new excavations at Star Carr, Yorkshire, UK. This MOOC is a guided learning resource for the public to develop their knowledge of archaeology, excavation methods, and how artefacts or site features advances our understanding of past behaviour. The MOOC assumes no background knowledge of archaeology, and can be used in tandem with free online resources and open-access academic books detailing the Mesolithic site of Star Carr and 10 years (2005-2015) of new excavations and discoveries at the site. The MOOC was launched in 2019 and is open throughout the year, delivered with the help of expert educators for one month on an annual or bi-annual basis. The MOOC has attracted thousands of participants each year from across the world and over a wide age demographic. The comments left by learners for each other, and to expert educators, provides important insight into the efficacy of the resource and its impact. As we approach the fifth run of the course, we reflect on our experiences of building and delivering the MOOC and evaluate the feedback received, with particular interest in the extent to which it has proved to be an effective learning tool for lifelong learners both nationally and internationally.

You can access the recording of this session at this link:

Using MOOCs to facilitate international lifelong learning for Prehistoric Archaeology (UoY Panopto log-in required)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s