Leicester launches modern life MOOC

The University of Leicester offers free online course on the importance of calculus in modern life

The University of Leicester is offering members of the public ‘Real World Calculus: How Maths Drives Formula One and Launches Angry Birds’, a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), to learn how calculus lays the foundation for many things we take for granted, from making mobile games such as Angry Birds work to enhancing an assortment of disciplines, such as engineering, biology and geography.

The course approaches mathematics in an accessible way by taking real world activities and using them to uncover the basic elements of calculus.

Professor Jeremy Levesley from the Department of Mathematics, who teaches the course, said: “Calculus is one of the greatest inventions of the human mind. It has allowed us to explore the universe, to develop amazing technology, and to understand uncertainty. Like Shakespeare, calculus is part of our heritage and its beauty and cleverness should be appreciated by society as a whole. The MOOC gives us an amazing opportunity to reach a much larger audience than was hitherto possible. I am very excited about trying to bring a better understanding of calculus to people, so that by the end of the course, they appreciate what an amazing thing humanity discovered in calculus.” 

The course combines articles, activities, and videos of experts in finance, physics and engineering describing why calculus is important in their own particular field. It also provides the opportunity to join on-line discussions on a wide range of maths-related topics – from the wear on car tyres to who was responsible for the credit crunch.

The University of Leicester course is also part of FutureLearn Choices, a range of short courses that offer a taste of what a degree course will be like for those who are considering going to university.

‘Real World Calculus: How Maths Drives Formula One and Launches Angry Birds’ begins on 29 June 2015 and will last for three weeks, with a workload of two hours per week.