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Meet the students of Bullers Wood School: preparing for university with FutureLearn

Bullers Wood School in South East London is taking part in our Beacon Schools programme – a pilot to see how free online courses can help students bridge the “learning gap” between school and university. Over 220 students at the school are taking our courses. Here, as part of a series of posts about FutureLearners to celebrate our first birthday, we meet some of them.

Bullers Wood School, where students are preparing for university with free online courses from FutureLearn

“It opened my eyes to areas of neuroscience I hadn’t considered before and allowed me to read people’s interesting and sensitive responses to topics such as multiple sclerosis,” says Jagger.

This 17-year-old student is hoping to study biology at university and has so far taken two related FutureLearn courses: “Good Brain, Bad Brain: Basics” and “Inside Cancer: How Genes Influence Cancer Development.”

“An initial curiosity about the brain, its function and its susceptibility to illness made the course appeal to me,” she explains. “I am usually busy with school work, so it seemed an easier and more practical way to learn than simply reading a book.

“The course was a springboard to further study. I’d definitely like to read up on some of the issues covered and am now keen to cover related areas at university as part of my degree.”

Preparing for university

Another student who’s using FutureLearn to help with university decision making is Rosie, also 17. She joined “England in the Time of King Richard III.”

“I hope to go to university to read history,” she says. “I took the course mainly because medieval history fascinates me and I wanted to learn more about this era. The course had detailed information on things like food, death and commemoration.”

“It meant I could access information that I would not otherwise have been able to – for example, the processes behind the discovery of Richard III’s remains and interviews with the people involved. I liked learning in this way, because it gave me the flexibility to research more into areas I was interested in.”

Learning together

One of the elements of FutureLearn that appeals to many digital native students is our focus on social learning, which allows you to comment in discussions and learn from others.

“It is one of the most interactive ways of learning I have come across that is outside of my school studies,” says 17-year-old Nancy, who has taken three FutureLearn courses to prepare to study English literature at university.

“I found that engaging with the comments section was really helpful,” she continues. “By commenting, I gained a further understanding, as it allowed me to consider my view and write a thoughtful response.

“I also loved reading other people’s comments, as there was a wide variety of commenters – from experts to fellow students like me – meaning there were numerous different interpretations and views.”

Jagger agrees: “I liked the idea of being able to discuss topics with people taking the course – you learn from others as well as the course itself, which is an aspect I loved.”

Recommending FutureLearn

So would the students at Bullers Wood School recommend FutureLearn to other students? Absolutely.

“Learning in this way is something that I really enjoy because it means I can do other things whilst watching the videos and still take all the information in,” says Nancy.

“The courses are practical, easy to fit into a daily routine and very flexible,” adds Jagger. “There’s a huge variety to choose from and definitely something for everyone.”

Want to know more about using FutureLearn in schools or to prepare for university? Visit our Schools page to learn more and register for updates. Or view all of our courses for Teaching & Studying.

FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
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