New improved Make Change Happen: free online course for activists goes live in March

January 30, 2019

     By Duncan Green     

I spent a lot of time before Christmas following and commenting on Oxfam’s new MOOC (Massive Open Online Course – keep up) on ‘Making Change Happen’. A lot of time because there were so many comments (from about 3,000 participants) and they were so interesting. Now the MOOC is coming round for its second outing, starting on 4th March, so if you missed it last time (or signed up and then flaked, like so many would-be MOOCistas) you’ve got another chance. Added bonus is that we’ve made lots of improvements based on feedback and glitches in the first round. Sign up here.

Here’s the blurb:

‘Make Change Happen is a free online course which provides changemakers and activists with an understanding of how change happens and key skills for influencing change.  The course provides an engaging dynamic online space where learners can share ideas and learn from each other as well as from the core teaching material, videos and case studies.  The course was developed by a cross-confederation team at Oxfam with the support of Open University and is hosted on the Futurelearn platform.

Make Change Happen reopens on March 4th and is open until May.  Learners can register and join the course at any point during that time.  The course is self-paced with 8 weeks of lessons, including on context analysis, power and systems, collective action, spheres of influence, messaging and narratives, and overcoming challenges.

Campaigners, activists, community organisers, civil society partners, and programme managers with an influencing objective will find this course especially valuable for their professional and personal development.’

If you’re interested in MOOCs in general, or whether to sign up for this one, it’s worth taking a look at the summary report of the first run. Lots of positive feedback (I’ll spare you the soundbites and endorsements, but they’re pretty good) and some interesting findings:

  • A reasonable geographical spread – Europe (2318); Asia (843) and Africa (521) were the best represented continents – where was the Americas? Like they don’t need a bit of help on activism right now?……
  • Very even spread of age ranges between 25 and 55, with a solid 9% of participants in the over 65 bracket. Go grey panthers!
  • Just over 2/3 (69%) of participants self identified as female (compared to 29% as male) – is that typical for MOOCs?

What struck me most was the emotional depth and intelligence of the conversation, both in the materials and the lovely interaction between participants, often thousands of miles apart. I have to own up here, I sometimes underestimate the emotional side of activism, but issues of self care, support and kindness emerged both as central to the practice of making change happen, and as some of the best qualities in the MOOC.

I’d be interested in feedback from any FP2P readers who took part.

January 30, 2019
Duncan Green