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Developing the MOOC

FutureLearn social network: Portus in the UoS MOOCosphere

I have been looking at the comments from across all University of Southampton FutureLearn courses in an attempt to understand the place that the Archaeology of Portus learners fit within the wider community of learners on other University of Southampton FutureLearn courses. As a first step I have aggregated the comments from all of the UoS courses that have run to date and then produced a simple network visualisation using the wonderfully easy to use NodeXL. Continue reading →

Sensing Portus

I have become fascinated with the ways in which we all imagine the site of Portus today and as it was in the past. When we have time we are going to undertake some rigorous formal analyses of the language uses on the Archaeology of Portus course - it provides an extraordinary insight into the prevailing understanding of the Roman past, at least as represented by our learners, and also of the impact of particular learning materials on this. Continue reading →

Portus’ dirty little secrets

  Working with Sue Alcock and Müge Durusu at Brown University on the Archaeology's Dirty Little Secrets (ADLS) course on the Coursera platform, and chairing a recent session with the ADLS team at the Annual Meeting of Computer Applications in Archaeology in Paris this past April, I've been pleasantly surprised by the number of institutions tackling the same issues we encountered during our MOOC adventure. Continue reading →

Research data and MOOCosystems

I've spoken at a number of events recently about what I see as the potential for joining up MOOCs in order to create shared curricula. I have for example cross-referenced material in the Archaeology of Portus course to Coursera and Brown's Archaeology's Dirty Little Secrets course, and to the Coursera and Yale Roman Architecture course. Continue reading →

Topographical survey at Portus

Hi, my name is Stephen Kay and I’m responsible for the topographical survey on the Portus Project. I am currently the Molly Cotton Fellow at the British School at Rome (, one of the partner institutions for the field school. My research interests are focused on landscape archaeology, in particular on Roman urbanism in central Italy. Continue reading →

Recent discoveries at Ostia

  The Archaeology of Portus MOOC will include some of our very latest findings, recently showcased in international media e.g. on BBC News in the UK. The recent discovery of the walled area of warehouses on the north side of the Tiber at by the Portus Project and the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma represents another major advance in our understanding of the relationship between Portus and Ostia. Continue reading →

Designing the Course

Hello all, my name is Peter Wheeler and I’m one of the designers on #UosFLPortus. I have the great job of helping to put the entire MOOC together. Whilst you won’t see me on camera – although I do have two cameos – I have been behind the scenes putting together each video, text and other additional content in preparation for the launch. We think it is important that you know about all the people involved in the Portus MOOC and their experiences of working at this fantastic site. Continue reading →

Italian language on the MOOC

The FutureLearn platform that is hosting the Archaeology of Portus MOOC currently does not support multiple languages, although we understand that this is being considered as the platform continues to develop. However, the Portus Project is at its heart a long term collaboration between Italian and UK institutions and individuals and so it is important to us that both languages are supported. Continue reading →

Registration opens for our MOOC

It is really gratifying to know that registration has now opened for the Portus MOOC, with the course actually starting in May. A huge amount of effort has been expended in getting us to this stage. Filming sessions in the field with our students during the 2013 Portus Field School was intensive and, as I hope you will agree, hugely rewarding and since then we have been assembling other materials and thinking of ways to bring you closer to the site and our activities there. Continue reading →