FutureLearn MOOCs

Short-form versions based on  a subset of the original MOOC material are now  available on FutureLearn.


They are organised as two multi-course programs:

  • Introducing Robotics, a program of 3 courses over 11 weeks.  Covers the 2D case only, skipping the 3D case where rotation is relatively complex to explain.
  • Robot Vision, a program of 3 courses over 10 weeks

The MOOCs (historical)

The massive open online courses (MOOCs) were developed in 2014-15 and ran a number of times over 2015-16.  They were each 6-weeks long, which was the MOOC fashion back then. While these MOOCs are no longer running the material is still available:

  • short-form versions running on FutureLearn, see above
  • all the content, including many of the quizzes, are now available in the Robot Academy.  They are available all the time, there are no start and end dates, and you can easily access individual lessons..

We picked up a couple of QS-Wharton awards in 2015 and wrote a paper that describes our motivation and approach. There were two MOOCs:

  • Based on the top-selling textbook Robotics, Vision & Control
  • Pitched at undergraduate engineering and computer science level, prerequisites include:
    • knowledge of programming, in particular object-oriented programming, MATLAB® expererience helpful
    • knowledge of linear algebra (vectors, matrices etc.)
    • classical control theory (first-order dynamics) — this is limited to just one section (Intro to Robotics lecture 10)
  • 6 weeks each
  • 2 x 1 hour lectures per week, with formative quizzes to consolidate knowledge
  • Weekly assessment for grades
  • Weekly programming assignments in MATLAB (autograded)
  • Delivered via the familiar Open edX software platform from EdCast
  1. Introduction & motivation
  2. Where things are in 2D
  3. Where things are in 3D
  4. Creating smooth motion
  5. Measuring motion
  6. Robot arms & forward kinematics
  7. Inverse kinematics
  8. End point velocity & Jacobians
  9. Over & under actuation
  10. Robot independent joint control
  11. Rigid body dynamics
  12. Future of robotics & ethics
Robotics, Vision & Control chapters : 1-3, 7-9.
  1. Robotic Vision
  2. Getting images into the computer
  3. Image processing
  4. Spatial operators
  5. Feature extraction
  6. What is color?
  7. Image formation
  8. Image geometry
  9. 3D vision
  10. Advanced image processing
  11. Vision and motion
Robotics, Vision & Control chapters: 10-13, 15.
  1. Support from Mathworks, a downloadable license to MATLAB for the duration of the course is available.
  2. Discounted copies of the textbook available.

There’s a project component as well, build a robot vision system at home!

How the MOOCs came about