Any views expressed within media held on this service are those of the contributors, should not be taken as approved or endorsed by the University, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University in respect of any particular issue.

Educational Design and Engagement

Educational Design and Engagement

Enriching the student learning experience & supporting development of on campus and online courses.

Edinburgh MOOCs: A conversation with David Warren

Why are MOOCs important to UoE?

The University of Edinburgh has a long history of online education and innovative use of technology, with a strong reputation for MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) development. Our MOOCs also offer us an opportunity to innovate in online delivery methods at larger scale and learn lessons that might be applied elsewhere in our educational portfolio.


Why create a MOOC?

Designing, developing and running a MOOC requires substantial effort. However, it can be both an interesting and rewarding endeavour. Of course, MOOCs are not the only method of tackling the ‘global education’ issue – they are short courses aimed at very broad audiences, but they’re a step in the right direction, providing open access to a learning experience that many find beneficial for furthering their education and careers – hopefully we gain more learners.

Current MOOC

Our latest MOOC, ‘The Sharia and Islamic Law: an Introduction’, launched on 6th of May with our partner FutureLearn. We encourage you to sign up and join the teaching team from the Alwaleed Centre, alongside our global community of learners, to find out what it is like to take a MOOC.

In addition, we are excited to announce two new upcoming MOOCS:

  • Delivering Research Data Management Services – launching Sept 2 2019
  • Driving Business Value from Data and AI – launching Sept 3 2019

Case study:

Frequent feedback we get from educators is, “I didn’t expect learners to be so engaged”. It is a different sort of teaching experience, especially when you discover that there are 3000 learners enrolled on your course.

In this short interview with Dr David Warren, the academic lead on ‘The Sharia & Islamic Law: An Introduction’, we discuss some of the practicalities around developing a new course and some early thoughts about supporting the online audience.

David’s biggest challenge revolved around the issue of copyright:

…I think I always had a sense of copyright law and how it would be a challenge. And I was told before it was the biggest challenge. I think first of all in terms of text I imagined initially that oh, I would just find some interesting parts of articles or book chapters and put them online and the students would read them.

So I would find that some texts I thought were perfect, I really, really wanted their publisher wouldn’t let me use them, for example. So I ended up sometimes actually writing out my own versions of texts…

David’s challenge is not unique – there is no way around copyright law, but our team is now much more aware of the routes to seeking permissions. We are regularly surprised by organisations who are happy to donate material or allow access to material! Additionally, the availability of increasing amounts of Open Educational Resource, much of it very local, is making the development of MOOCs very much easier. See the Edinburgh OER site for further detail.

Finally, if you want to know more, please get in touch:


Develop your own MOOC

We are keen to support colleagues who are interested in developing a new MOOC and we have had numerous enquiries from people across a broad range of subject matters who are thinking about developing their own. We can help you turn your story into a MOOC that is autonomous, diverse, open and interactive.

To get started, download the proposal guide, complete the application form and submit it to

If you have any questions about the content required for proposal, do not hesitate to get in touch with the MOOC team and we would be happy to discuss your idea further before submission.

To find out more about our institutional portfolio of MOOCs visit:


By The MOOCs Team


Leave a reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Report this page

To report inappropriate content on this page, please use the form below. Upon receiving your report, we will be in touch as per the Take Down Policy of the service.

Please note that personal data collected through this form is used and stored for the purposes of processing this report and communication with you.

If you are unable to report a concern about content via this form please contact the Service Owner.

Please enter an email address you wish to be contacted on. Please describe the unacceptable content in sufficient detail to allow us to locate it, and why you consider it to be unacceptable.
By submitting this report, you accept that it is accurate and that fraudulent or nuisance complaints may result in action by the University.