Our Understanding Research Methods course is now open for registrations on Coursera.

Aside all the hopes and concerns over the MOOC phenomenon (e.g. here, here, and here), what I have learnt so far is that running a MOOC involves such diverse groups of people. This might sound like a statement of the obvious, given the fact that tens of thousands of students are signing up from around the world (although a recent survey revealed the majority of the students are still ‘elite, young, and male‘). But even the provider’s side too – instructors are only a part of a much bigger whole. Naturally, each of the involved is likely to have different goals and expectations of the course, I imagine. As far as I am concerned though, I am hoping for the following outcomes.

1. Before I first came to the UK for a master’s degree a decade ago, I had never heard of the concept of methodology, mainly because my BA programme in Korea was all exam-based. So, during my MA year, I was already busy adapting to a new culture and educational system as an overseas student, but I was most of all frustrated by the fact that I didn’t quite understand what was going on when teachers and colleagues were talking about research methods. So, as I stated in the intro video above, I hope the course will demystify research and research methods, especially for the benefit of people who are transitioning into a research-oriented study, career or lifestyle.

2. The other outcome I would love to see is the course serving as a space where students get to practise communicating their research with various audiences for a greater social impact. I do believe that good research is not just about a researcher knowing how to design and execute a valid and rigorous study on its own right. In order for the results of the study to come to life, the researcher must also be able to situate her research in a broader conversation and be able to convince other parties of the conversation that she has arrived at her conclusions through a reasonable path.

I would be very happy this summer if I could say the course has achieved these two.


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