The first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to be created in Welsh will be officially launched this Thursday by Professor Mark Drakeford AM, the Minister for Health and Social Services.
The course –Language awareness in the field of Social Work - has been commissioned by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol in co-operation with the Care Council for Wales. The course was developed in direct response to feedback by social workers who had identified specific linguistic practice needs.
The resource has been produced by Cwmni Iaith Cyf in partnership with the design company Orchard, following a period of consultation with practitioners and academics in the field of Social Work.
The course is worth 10 university credits, and lecturers at Bangor, Swansea, Cardiff universities and the Open University plan to use the resource as from October 2015 as part of the Social Work degree course.
Professor Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services, said: “Providing health and social services in Welsh is inextricably linked to providing high-quality, safe and compassionate care and is crucial when people, particularly older people, children and those with dementia or mental health issues, are at their most vulnerable.
“I am extremely encouraged by the work the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol has undertaken to support health and social services to maximise opportunities for the Welsh language.”
The MOOC is an open access online course through the Coleg’s e-learning portal – Y Porth – and on a world-wide portal, Blackboard Open Education, with the aim of unlimited participation. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings and presentations, the MOOC provides interactive fora which will help to build a community for learners.
One of the specific advantages of learning a module on the MOOC is the ability to target students who are less confident of their grasp of the Welsh language. Since this is a less formal method of learning, proof of linguistic ability is not required before commencing the course.
Andrew Green, Chair of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol who has also chaired a Government working party into Online Digital Learning: “Over the last few years, there has been a surge of interest from all corners of the globe in new methods of teaching students. It is a natural step for the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol to be working on an exciting project such as the MOOC.
The finished product has been prepared and designed to a high standard, and we are grateful to Cwmni Iaith cyf for their excellent work.
The language awareness MOOC is a model which can be replicated in other areas of higher education: health immediately comes to mind. We are therefore excited about the further possibilities MOOC can offer for the future.”
Rhian Huws Williams, Chief Executive of the Care Council for Wales who was responsible for establishing the partnership with the Coleg Cymraeg, said: “We are very proud of the effective co-operation which has taken place between the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, the Care Council for Wales, the Welsh Government and sector representatives in the development of training in the care field through the medium of Welsh. Through this development, we have succeeded in proving that effective co-operation is possible, and we hope that we can inspire other bodies to replicate our work for the benefit of the care sector in Wales.”
The resource will be launched officially by Mark Drakeford AM Minister for Health and Social Services on Thursday 21 May 2015 at 11 a.m. at the Open University building, 18 Custom House Street, Cardiff.