UCL, or the University College London is ranked as one of the world's top universities and was established in 1826. The University created e-learning website that offers a range of non-credit open courses to the public called UCLeXtend.
Currently there are 34 online courses offered by their University faculty on a variety of topics including anthropology, education, engineering, global health, healthcare, information studies, research methodology and more.
I was interested in learning more about anthropology - specifically digital anthropology.
I found this video online that describes the global research project the University did that aimed to understand how social media is used in different countries and how it is used and the consequences for its use.
The project has a dedicated website called "Why We Post - Social Media Through the Eyes of the World"
Nine anthropologists collaborated on the research for 15 months in nine countries around the world. They immersed themselves in the communities to research the role of social media in everyday lives of the people living in a community in Brazil, Chile, China, England, India, Italy, England, Trinidad, and Turkey.
The researchers published and shared eleven open access volumes of their research online in multiple languages. Translations of this research and the free online course are available in Chinese, Italian, Hindi, Portugese, Spanish,, Tamil and Turkish. The research was published in February 2016, so it is fairly current.
UCLexTend offers a free online course called "Why We Post: the Anthropology of Social Media". It is a five week course which explores the impacts of social media including how the consequences of social media may vary between different countries and on topics including politics, gender, equality and privacy.
The course offers a new definition of social media which concentrates on the content posted, not just the capabilities of platforms. It examines the increasing importance of images in communication and the reasons why people post memes, selfies and photographs.
I have registered for the course and will be starting it shortly. I am impressed with the high quality of the online materials presented so far and anticipate the course will be very valuable. If anyone is interested in my opinion after I have completed it, I would be happy to share.
I am inspired by a quote on their website for what I will be learning
Adopting an anthropological and comparative approach, we strive to understand not only how social media has changed the world, but how the world has changed social media.