Starting soon: two new mini-MOOCs for our Web Science series

The University of Southampton and FutureLearn have recently launched two new courses in the Web Science MOOC Series.

The original 6 week Web Science MOOC needed an update (amazingly it’s nearly 3 years since we started on this journey!) We have now split that course into a number of 2 week mini-MOOCs, with updates to the existing content and plenty of new material.

Dave Millard and Lisa Harris, Educators on the Power of Social Media MOOC

The Power of Social Media“ (#FLSocialMedia) begins on 25th April. Students from the Curriculum Innovation module “Online Social Networks” will be putting their learning directly into practice as they participate in the MOOC with learners from all over the world. They will be producing short videos illustrating their group’s chosen social networking challenge to share and discuss with everyone else on the MOOC.

Social networks have emerged over the past 10 years in various forms to play a fundamental role in our lives. But do we actually understand these networks? And are we using them in the right ways? Networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have very distinct qualities which can be used to our advantage. The first part of the course covers the qualities and differences between social networks and also considers the impact they can have on our lives. It explores the various properties of networks in order to understand more about how we can measure online power and influence.

The media are quick to report on negative aspects of social networking such as cyberbullying or identity theft, but we hear less about the benefits that occur when networks are used to enhance employability or raise awareness of good causes. The second part of the course explores how social media can be used for good, not just at a personal level for career development, but also at a societal level.

In fact the course itself is a social network. We encourage students to interact with other learners from all around the world, to put the lessons directly into practice and build their online networks for learning and professional purposes.

The other new course in the Web Science series is Introduction to Linked Data and the Semantic Web (#FLlinkeddata) which starts on 11th April.

“Linked Data” is a term coined by Sir Tim Berners-Lee as a way of publishing data online so it can be easily interlinked and managed using semantic queries. This helps the exposure and interlinking of datasets so that data can be exchanged, reused and integrated. The course explores how this new Web of Data isn’t about creating a big collection of standalone datasets, but is instead about using a common format to ensure data is interrelated. Through linking datasets, applications can vastly improve their user experience – thanks to having access to a wider range of knowledge.

Increasing numbers of organisations and initiatives are starting to appreciate the power of Linked Data. It provides significant power and potential to the growing domain of data science and web science. The course is produced by the European Data Science Academy (EDSA) project and introduces skills that are in increasing demand as the Web evolves from a Web of Documents to a Web of Data.

Elena Simperl, Lead Educator for the Linked Data and Semantic Web MOOC

Elena Simperl, Lead Educator on the Linked Data MOOC says:

Southampton has a worldwide reputation in Semantic Web and Linked Data. This MOOC gives us the opportunity to give something back to the community, and to put to use what we know and have learned through decades of R&D projects by helping people interested in these technologies to understand their potential.

We hope that many staff and students from across the whole University will join in and contribute to our new MOOCs along with learners from all over the world!

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