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  1. BBC Learning's massive open online courses

    Wednesday 23 July 2014, 08:57

    Tim Plyming Tim Plyming Executive Producer

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    Dan Snow

    Digital technology is continuing to change the world of learning and nowhere is this more apparent than in the huge range of massive open online courses (MOOCS).This new breed of global online courses emerged from the United States and are proving to be hugely popular with platforms including Coursera and edX providing access to hundreds of courses to students across the world.

    In BBC Learning, we have been following the progress of this revolution in online learning very closely and today we are revealing details of an exciting pilot project looking at opportunities for the BBC to work alongside UK universities as a content partner; I want to use this blog to tell you more.

    I have been an online student myself and have loved the opportunity to dip into a huge range of world class learning in subjects as broad as the history of modern art, innovation in business, global cooperation and England in the time of Richard III. Online learning has given me the chance to experience amazing standards of teaching from the comfort of my home and to suit my schedule.

    In the UK, Futurelearn has been working with a large number of universities to launch the first set of MOOCs originating...

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  2. Round Up Week 28, 2014

    Friday 18 July 2014, 15:58

    Sam Buckett Sam Buckett BBC Trainee

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    After he spent a week on the About the BBC website, we thought it only polite that we pass the Round Up torch to BBC Trainee Sam Buckett.

    The World Cup drew to a close on Sunday and brought to an end the most entertaining football tournament of my own recollection. As such, the come down this week has been fairly intense, but as they say “all good things must come to an end”.

    The BBC covered every moment of the football fiesta from Brazil across television, radio, mobile and online- as a football fan it was near impossible to miss any of the action without perhaps falling asleep on a train, only to wake up and find Germany 5-0 up against the hosts before half time, as I did.

    However, as with every World Cup there will be moments I’ll remember forever. Goals from James Rodriguez, Robin Van Persie and Tim Cahill set the world stage alight as did some of the performances of lesser known players and teams such as Costa Rica, Chile and Algeria.

    german football team

    Of course, with any World Cup the lasting image will be that of the winning captain holding the trophy aloft amongst his team mates. As Phillip Lahm did so, I thought about all the years of training and perfect practice that had led to...

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  3. Here's One We Made Earlier

    Friday 18 July 2014, 12:20

    Joe Godwin Joe Godwin Director, Children's

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    On Saturday 19 July, a major new exhibition opens at The Lowry in Salford; Here’s One We Made Earlier is the biggest ever celebration of the heritage and continuing importance of BBC Children’s programmes.

    We all remember the programmes and characters that shaped our childhoods, many of those made by the BBC. Blue Peter to Muffin the Mule, Humpty and Big Ted to CBeebies Bedtime Stories. This exhibition will pull the nostalgic heartstrings of many visitors, and will be just as relevant to the children who visit as it will to their parents and grandparents.

    In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash Installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content

    Trailer for CBBC which looks back at some favourite children's programmes of yesteryear

    One of my distant forebears as Head of BBC children’s programmes in the late 1940s, Mary Adams, expressed the ambition that children's television would one day offer:

    "plays, how-to-series, storytelling, a collectors' corner, pets, travel, outside broadcasts from museums and factories, informational films, quizzes and encyclopaedia programmes".

     The aim was to make children's television a 'service in miniature', replicating all of adult television's genres and formats for younger audiences.

    And that’s what we still aim to do –if...

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  4. What's on BBC Red Button, 19-25 July

    Friday 18 July 2014, 11:44

    Marc Jones Marc Jones Media Scheduler, Red Button

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    It’s a big week on BBC Red Button with build-up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games as Glasgow gears up to host athletes from across the globe.

      BBC hosts for Commonwealth Games 2014 BBC hosts for Commonwealth Games 2014

    Sport highlights

    Golf fans can press red to see extra coverage and highlights of The Open Championship as the action at Hoylake wraps up.

    The 2014 Commonwealth Games kick off in Glasgow this week. Red Button is showing previews ahead of the opening ceremony, followed by coverage and highlights of sports such as cycling, boxing and table tennis when the event gets into full swing.

    If Formula 1 is more your thing, we...

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  5. Writing Bad Salsa

    Thursday 17 July 2014, 21:06

    Kay Stonham Kay Stonham

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    All this week writer Kay Stonham's comedy Bad Salsa has been airing on BBC Radio 4. In addition to penning her script, Kay has written this post. We're a little sorry that circumstances beyond our control meant we couldn't post it earlier this week. 

    Ten years ago I started going to a salsa club. I was a single parent, loved to dance and wanted to get a bit of carefree fun into my life. I immediately fell in love with the world and realized it would make a great setting for a comedy drama. 

    At a salsa club you can mix with anyone; young, old, rich, poor, gay, straight, black, white, they’re...

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  6. A human tone of Voice

    Wednesday 16 July 2014, 15:50

    Sam Smith Sam Smith Head of Audience Services

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    Last year the team at the BBC that deals with all feedback from audience members, appropriately called Audience Services, embarked on a project to test out different ways of responding to audience questions. One year on, head of the department Sam Smith reports back on the experience and shares some of her findings.

    In a keynote speech late last year Tony Hall, Director General, outlined his vision of the BBC’s relationship with its audience. He said that he wanted a “closer, warmer relationship with our audiences…” one where “people would think – not ‘the BBC’, but ‘my BBC, our...

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  7. Why subscription isn't the best way to fund the BBC

    Tuesday 15 July 2014, 08:44

    James Heath James Heath Director of Policy, BBC

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    In my last post, I argued that the value the BBC gives the British public and the creative sector is because of the licence fee and not despite it. But could there be a better funding model, or at least one that is more suited to the digital world? What about subscription? Or could a hybrid model of a core licence fee funded service with additional services funded on a subscription basis, deliver the best of both worlds? This post deals with both potential options in turn.

    Subscription is not a new idea for funding the BBC. Nearly 30 years ago, the Peacock report favoured it as the best way to give...

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  8. Why the licence fee is the best way to fund the BBC

    Monday 14 July 2014, 16:03

    James Heath James Heath Director of Policy, BBC

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    This is the first post in a new series of BBC public policy blogs, which set out our thinking, discuss ideas, and stimulate debate on some of the key public policy questions facing the BBC.

    Some argue that the licence fee is outdated and should be scrapped; others that it should stay but be distributed beyond the BBC. It's right that these issues are debated and that we engage with the counter-views.

    What the BBC is for and how it should be funded are inextricably linked. I think there are four basic tests for the BBC's funding mechanism: universality and social value, great programmes at an affordable...

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  9. Chris Hawkins' Home Team Glory

    Friday 11 July 2014, 19:00

    Chris Hawkins Chris Hawkins

    Chris Hawkins

    Big sporting tournaments are a sure fire way of inspiring patriotism. Few other activities unite nations and of all sports, football is the ultimate unifier. In 1996 football came home and England played host to the European Championships. I was in Nottingham, one of the host cities, for the summer of that year and vividly remember the buoyant mood across the city; everyone full of hopes and dreams. I watched a number of the games on a big-screen at a Nottingham nightclub. The atmosphere was fantastic, the beer flowed freely and the air was punched as England drew with Switzerland, beat Scotland...

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  10. Round Up Week 27 2014

    Friday 11 July 2014, 15:54

    Jon Jacob Jon Jacob Editor, About the BBC Blog

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    Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City San Francisco Bay, one of many locations listeners are transported to via Radio 4's Further Tales of the City

    When I joined the BBC back in 2005, I wanted to be on the radio. That was why I joined. The tutor on my radio production course in central London had said I'd be a natural just as I started writing on the tutor evaluation form. That anecdote kickstarted one or two ambitions.

    It wasn't to be. I got distracted by online in my first role at the BBC and before I realised just how much time had passed, the boat for Radioland had departed without me. From time to time I see my radio production...

    Read more about Round Up Week 27 2014

About this Blog

This blog explains what the BBC does and how it works. We link to some other blogs and online spaces inside and outside the corporation. The blog is edited by Jon Jacob.

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External links about the BBC

MediaCity leads to Salford becoming the UK's property hotspot (Guardian)
"MediaCity and incoming BBC employees have kept Salford going when the market was bad, said one agent"

BBC annual report: Tony Hall announces £374m in annual savings (Independent)

Doctor Who: series 8 looks like a scorcher (Guardian)
"Cybermen sizzle as Peter Capaldi films BBC sci-fi series at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral in the middle of a heatwave"

Sophie Raworth: I get far more work now I am over 40 (Telegraph)
"News presenter Sophie Raworth claims many of her bosses are now female and ageism is no longer an issue for women in the BBC"

Kids tv leads BBC in 'going green' (Ariel)

Naga Munchetty given permanent place on BBC Breakfast sofa following Susanna Reid’s depart (Daily Express)

BBC’s Dominic Coles joins Discovery Networks (Guardian)
"Corporation’s director of operations to be US-based pay-TV giant’s finance and operations chief across western Europe"

World Cup Final 2014: BBC Triumphs Over ITV In TV Ratings War, Over 9 Million More Viewers Tune In (Huffington Post)

BBC Chief Tony Hall Promises a ‘Competition Revolution’ (Variety)

Future Media roles to move to Salford (Ariel)

Wimbledon final watched by 10 million (Guardian)
"Novak Djokovic victory over Roger Federer takes 54% share on BBC1, but no match for Andy Murray’s win last year"

TV News celebrates its 60th birthday (Ariel)

Doctor Who: Frank Cottrell Boyce is a genius, says Steven Moffat (Digital Spy)
"BBC One has confirmed that Frank Cottrell Boyce will script an episode of Doctor Who."

Danger Mouse remake will see some male characters returning as females (Guardian)
"CBBC’s Cheryl Taylor promises show ‘truthful to the essence of Danger Mouse’ but with fresh ideas"

BBC appoints Matthew Postgate as chief technology officer (Guardian)
"Current controller of research and development was part of the management team that created iPlayer and built mobile services"

Radio 5 Live: Presenters Richard Bacon, Victoria Derbyshire and Shelagh Fogarty among names leaving BBC radio station (Mirror)

Doctor Who trailer: take a Deep Breath, Capaldi fans (Guardian)
"A teaser for the 'feature-length' first episode of the new Doctor Who series has materialised, complete with Peter Capaldi, the Tardis in flames and a hint of menace"

Teenagers take over Scottish Thought for the Day (Ariel)

BBC increases digital radio coverage with Northern transmitters (Prolific North)

BBC to show off Commonwealth Games in 4K UHD (TechRadar)
"first ever event to be produced entirely over IP/internet networks - which the BBC is calling a 'major broadcasting milestone'"

BBC3 wins big at 2014 Broadcast Digital Awards (Broadcast)

Does Mary Berry Cooks mark a breakthrough for older women on TV?Does Mary Berry Cooks mark a breakthrough for older women on TV? (Guardian)"What results is an unapologetically old-fashioned TV show with a presenter who makes no attempt to disguise when she was born"

Last updated Wednesday 23 July 2014

Blogs from across the BBC

Selected by the About the BBC Blog team.

How BBC News covered Indian elections on WhatsApp and WeChat [COJO]
BBC Online outage on Saturday 19 July 2014 [Internet]
Using radio to respond to Ebola in Sierra Leone [Media Action]
Plants: From roots to riches [Radio 4]
Ideas to talk about [Outreach]



Connected Red Button: a first look at the new service on Smart TVs [Internet]