Staff information for making a MOOC

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are a new phenomenon in eLearning which give learners from around the world free, web-based, open access to content produced by world-class institutions. FutureLearn, a subsidiary of the Open University, is the first UK-based MOOC platform and is developing partnerships with the University of Sheffield, other leading universities and institutions including the British Library, British Museum and British Council.

If you are interested in making a MOOC we have created bank of information to help you understand the process, know what is needed of you and what you will need to provide to make your course successful.

The Online Learning Team

The University of Sheffield Online Learning Team

Making a MOOC requires translation of academic subjects into a format that is open, easily understood worldwide, and engaging for all. The Online Learning Team are here to help you create the perfect course, keeping the academic integrity intact while making a course that is both high quality and accessible to all.


Marie Kinsey - University Academic Lead

Deanna Meth - Head of Projects and Development

Anna Symington - Project Support Manager

Layla Croll - Production Manager

David Holloway - Production Manager

Robert Lapworth - Educational Content Developer

Laura Giles - Educational Developer

Chris Black - Production Assistant

Below is more information about each stage of making a MOOC.

Timeline of Making a MOOC

(Click on the image to enlarge)

Month 1 – As with all things it begins with an idea for a course. This can be on nearly any subject and from any faculty. With your idea in mind you will need to complete and submit an expression of interest form, gain the support of your faculty and begin to think about any possible copyright issues your course may have later.

Month 2 – Once the course subject has been approved it is time to start creating the MOOC. The MOOC team will work with you to develop and submit a course outline detailing your expected audience, learning aims & outcomes, and weekly content plan. There are many ways of creating a course outline, and we can provide assorted templates to help, depending on which suits you best. Educators who will be taking part are recruited and which area they will be responsible for is decided on. We also ask that you begin filling a flowchart of the different weeks using Trello boards. These allow us to see the overall course, which parts best suit a discussion, article or video and how each week is weighted between the three.

Month 3 to 5 – Course content is written, filming begins on the video content and course exam & quiz questions are confirmed. Also a list of all 3rd party content is created, so that we can seek any permissions necessary. By the end of this time we should have completed any filming needed and have a course trailer up on the platform ready to recruit ;earmers and promote the course. By the end of this term most of the course content is completed and has been loaded on to the Futurelearn platform.

Month 6 - The course is now almost complete. Changes are made to the course as needed, any references are checked, links created, and 3rd party content is checked for copyright compliance. Also transcriptions and subtitles are made of all video content. Once all in the platform the course is submitted to Futurelearn to go through their quality assurance process. It will also be time for the MOOC team and Educators to check and test the course on the platform. An email will be sent to all participants that have signed up so far, introducing the university, inviting participants start tweeting about the course with the course twitter handle, and detailing when the course will begin.

Month 7 - The course begins. An email is sent at the beginning of each week detailing what is coming up and summarising what happened in the week previous, the highlights, the discussions had and any emerging themes.

Month 8 - Depending on the course length, the course is completed. An email is sent to participants giving thanks for their participation, detailing courses available at the University that are relevant to the MOOC and inviting the learner to take a survey about the course.

Month 9 – Once the course has completed (Futurelearn give up to 4 weeks once the official end date has passed for any participants slightly behind to finish) course evaluation takes place. The Educators are asked to provide detailed course feedback and any results of students taking the course that have also signed up to courses at The University of Sheffield. Futurelearn also provide results of feedback and statistics which we then pull together in to a comprehensive report.

To the right (on a computer screen, below on a tablet or mobile phone) you will find a list of documents that explain the development process for creating a MOOC further.

If you have any enquiries or are interested in creating a MOOC please contact us via the contact details below:


The Online Learning Team
Projects and Development, Academic Learning Services
University of Sheffield
New Spring House
231 Glossop Road
S10 2GW