January 3, 2013 Leave a comment
Interesting and potentially exciting news at the end of 2012 that a group of established UK learning institutions are joining forces to enter the world of MOOC provision. For the uninitiated (which, until reading this article, included me) MOOCs are ‘massive open online courses’ – training courses that typically free, conducted online and open to anyone who wants to participate
In 2013 12 UK universities will be getting together to form a new company that will offer the online courses – under the brand name of FutureLearn Ltd. The universities are: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Anglia, Exeter, King’s College London, Lancaster, Leeds, Southampton, St Andrews and Warwick, along with UK distance-learning organization The Open University (OU).
Several U.S. universities including Harvard and MIT are already involved with MOOCs as are a few other UK universities but this will apparently be the first large group to set up a dedicated MOOC business located in the UK.
Details of courses and operations are yet to be finalised but the OU said FutureLearn will be open to students in the UK and internationally. It will:
- bring together a range of free, open, online courses from leading UK universities, that will be clear, simple to use, and accessible.
- draw on the OU’s expertise in delivering distance learning and pioneering open education resources to underpin a unified, coherent offer from all of its partners.
- reimagine class-based learning rather than trying to replicate it online – using the potential of digital technologies.
Commenting on the development, Martin Bean, the Vice Chancellor of The Open University said: “MOOCs represent an enormous development in higher education, one that has the potential to bring about long-lasting change to the HE sector.”
The potential role of MOOCs in ongoing learning and upskilling, particularly for older workers is theoretically vast and could be a key tool for helping people stay in work for longer. Let’s hope that this is borne in mind by those designing and marketing the courses.