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Taking the Marlborough College School of English and Culture’s Open Minds Course Online

Published Lynne on Thursday, September 10, 2020

MCSEC Open Minds Course

The coronavirus pandemic has, of course, presented a unique set of challenges and difficulties for everyone and it was no different for us at the Marlborough College School of English and Culture. The ever-changing situations in our students’ home countries and here in the UK led us to the sad decision to cancel our 2020 course and presented us with a new challenge: Could our Open Minds course be taught online?

MCSEC has been running Open Minds since 2016, offering up a new programme of modules each year that provide opportunities for students unleash their creativity and develop their critical thinking skills through debate, collaboration, independent research projects and performance. Fully aware that many of our students may be suffering from ‘Zoom fatigue’ and conscious of the limitations of online teaching, we set about designing a free eight-week course to be offered to all our students – past, present and prospective – that we hoped could replicate the Open Minds experience as closely as possible.

The final product was Open Minds Online, a research and discussion-based course of eight weekly modules covering a variety of topics; from philosophical conversations about what it means to be human in the machine age, to a creative exploration of time and nostalgia in photography. Introductory videos for all eight modules are can be viewed here.  

Each module asked students to complete a series of practical and creative tasks at home, conduct some personal research and present a final project to their classmates in a weekly video discussion session led by one of our tutors.

We were so pleased to have the opportunity to bring together our community of students in these trying times and to hear so many fascinating thoughts and opinions on such a range of issues. Though nothing can fully replicate the true Open Minds classroom experience, this was the next best thing!

You can also watch the introductory videos for all modules here.

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