Thursday 17 February 2022

New BLE MOOC on FutureLearn is now live!

Our new MOOC, which offers prospective students the opportunity to learn key digital skills to succeed in Higher Education, has recently landed on FutureLearn!

The course is particularly relevant after a recent Jisc survey showed that 87% of students are studying online with a further 12% studying in a hybrid model.

DigitalSkills Awareness for Starting Higher Education is delivered online over a three-week learning period.

The course, which is free for everyone, has been developed by the BLE to introduce the digital skills students will need when they start their degree or other Higher Education courses.
And it has never been more necessary, with the Jisc survey* showing that:
  • 87% of students studied completely online last year
  • A further 12% studied online and in person, with only 1% studying solely in-person
  • Less than half (41%) said they received guidance about the digital skills they needed for their course and
  • Only one in four (26%) said they had an assessment of their digital skills and training needs.
The course introduces students to the important skills, systems, and core technologies for learning to help them succeed at university and Higher Education.

Dr Nancy Weitz, Digital Education Specialist at the BLE, created the course to help students get to grips with essential technologies to support their learning.

She said: “The course we’ve developed is aimed at all students before they are due to start studying  and will teach them about the various online platforms and learning environments, study and assessment tools, and advice for staying safe online.

“As the recent Jisc survey shows, this has never been more important, with virtually all students studying either exclusively online or as part of a mixture of online and in-person. We’d encourage all students to take our free course as a vital introduction to their Higher Education study.”

Students on the course will be guided by experts from the Bloomsbury Learning Exchange (BLE), an organisation dedicated to sharing digital education expertise.

Learning with the BLE means learning with a digital education association comprised of six prominent Higher Education Institutions in Bloomsbury, Central London: Birkbeck, LSHTM, RVC, SOAS, UCL, and the University of London.

Course Outline:

Week 1: Your Learning Environment
  • Access and accounts 
  • Online learning environments
  • Assignments and assessments 
Week 2: Foundations of Digital Study
  • Study skills tools   
  • Written communications
  • The Internet and searches
  • Working with files 
Week 3: Digital Safety and Wellbeing
  • Safety and security 
  • Social media for learning 
  • Digital wellbeing 
  • Time management

The course, delivered through FutureLearn “on demand”, is available absolutely free and will take just a few hours each week to complete. Enrol now here!

*About the Jisc digital skills survey

Student digital experience insights survey 2020/21; UK higher education (HE) survey findings (

The survey was conducted between October 2020 and April 2021 and there were 38,917 participants in the HE survey from 41 different universities. This represents 12% of all universities and HE institutions in the UK. 27 of these were based in England, seven in Wales, four in Northern Ireland and three in Scotland.

The Survey There was a mismatch in students' expectations in how they would be studying this last year – 55% expected to be fully on campus but the reality was that only 1% were able to do so and 87% did their studying online (a further 12% said they studied using a mix of online and on campus). Only 41% of students agreed that they received guidance about the digital skills they needed for their course and just 26% said they had an assessment of their digital skills and training needs. These figures are a concern.

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