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Cardiff Offers first Massive Open Online Course

6 March 2014

Cardiff University's first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) will start March 10 enabling anyone to study online, for free, wherever they are in the world.

The course Muslims in Britain is delivered through FutureLearn- the first UK-led provider of massive open online courses (MOOCs).

Professor Sophie Gilliat-Ray, lead educator for the University's free online course "Muslims in the Britain: Changes and Challenges", explains how the course aims to look beyond media representations and stereotypes, to reveal a rich history of Muslim presence in Britain, and an infinite variety of individual experiences.

"One of the first things we did when putting Muslims in Britain together was to ask Muslims from the local Cardiff community to explain their stories of how their families came to live in the area. The result - which can be seen in a video near the middle of our course - was a collection of narratives which stretched from Mombasa to Dhaka, across England and Wales, and involved textile workers, schoolchildren, bankers and chaplains. The cumulative effect of these multiple voices was to present a challenge to any one-dimensional depiction of British Muslims: the incredible ethnic, religious and cultural diversity of the population was brought to life.

It is this emphasis on the lived experience of individuals that gives our course its unique character. Over four weeks, learners will gain an understanding of the beliefs and practices of British Muslims, explore the long history of the relationship between Britain and Islam, before turning to communities in Britain today and key contemporary debates. At each point, we want learners to view these topics through the lens of real experiences. For example, when considering the issue of gender for British Muslims, we hear directly from Rehanah Sadiq, who was the Muslim chaplain supporting the 2012 Olympic games and who has an enormous wealth of experience working with British institutions and communities.

This emphasis on a multiplicity of voices reflects an important research methodology used in the work of the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK at Cardiff University. It is hoped that by joining us in "Muslims in Britain: Changes and Challenges" learners will also start to develop these tools as a way of building their understanding of those around them."

The Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK is one of the distinguished research centres based within the University's School of History, Archaeology and Religion.

Professor Patricia Price, Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience and Academic Standards said: "FutureLearn courses are accessible online, via mobiles and tablets meaning learners can fit their studying around their lives, rather than their lives around study. 

"Our first MOOC will allow learners to develop their understanding of Muslims and their faith through an exploration of communities in Britain.  It is another example of agenda-setting research from Cardiff University informing learning. 

I am grateful to all University staff who have helped to make this exciting new development possible."

To keep up-to-date with the course on twitter follow the hashtag #FLIslamUK

Related Links

Muslims in Britain FutureLearn

Free online courses at Cardiff

Exploring the Past pathway

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