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Five more international universities take up social learning on FutureLearn

FutureLearn grows its global presence with its first Japanese partner, and leading names from Australia, Europe and the UK

FutureLearn today welcomes five more of the world’s most prestigious universities to create massive open online courses (MOOCs) on the social learning platform. Free online courses from Complutense University of Madrid, Durham University, Keio University, the University of Manchester, and UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales), will become available to FutureLearn’s global community of learners from October this year.

Complutense University of Madrid, one of Spain’s oldest and most respected universities, joins as FutureLearn’s latest European partner. Its first course, ‘Viral Diseases in Animals’, will launch on FutureLearn at the beginning of 2016.

Durham University, the first of two new additions from the UK, is a world top 100 university with a global reputation and performance in research and education. Its first course, focussing on open innovation across the supply chain’, will also become available on FutureLearn in 2016.

Keio University joins as FutureLearn’s first Japanese partner. Founded in 1858, it is Japan’s earliest modern institution of higher learning, and remains one of the country’s premier universities. Its first course will explore Japan’s history of book production, beginning in the 8th century, and drawing on Keio University’s extensive collection of rare books. The course will open on FutureLearn in 2016.

Also from the UK comes the University of Manchester, the UK’s largest campus university. Its first course, ‘Clinical Bioinformatics for Healthcare Professionals’, will launch on FutureLearn at the beginning of 2016.

UNSW Australia, one of the country’s leading research-intensive institutions, becomes FutureLearn’s newest partner from the Asia-Pacific. Its first course, ‘Maths for Humans: Linear, Quadratic & Inverse Relations’, is available now for learners to sign up for, and will commence in October 2015.

Simon Nelson, Chief Executive of FutureLearn, said:

“The addition of these five distinguished names in the global Higher Education sector not only reflects the international reach of our learner base, but crucially, reinforces the high quality of courses available on our platform. Social learning has made great strides through FutureLearn and I know our global community of learners will relish the opportunity to engage with leading educators from these five institutions as they pursue their goals for professional development and further study.”

Luis Hernández Yáñez, Vice President for Information Technology at Complutense University of Madrid, said:

“The Complutense University of Madrid looks forward to providing high quality education worldwide, and MOOC development is one of our strategic lines. We want our courses to be available on the world’s leading e-learning platforms, and FutureLearn is one of them. We are sure our partnership with FutureLearn will help us be where we want to be.”

Dr Christos Tsinopoulos, Senior Lecturer in Operations and Project Management at Durham University Business School, said:

“This is an excellent opportunity to showcase our research on open innovation and supply chain management by reaching out through this global learning platform.  Our MOOC will be the first open course to be developed in Durham University’s Educational Development Unit as a means of broadening access to Higher Education.”

Professor Keiko Okawa, Vice Director of Keio University’s Research Institute for Digital Media & Content, said:

“Keio University, the oldest in Japan, is proud to become FutureLearn’s first partner from this country. We have been sharing open educational resources on the internet for the last 20 years, to the benefit of learners around the world. We are now looking forward to exploring new methods of teaching and learning design in higher education on this innovative social learning platform, in collaboration with FutureLearn and the rest of the partnership.”

Dr Ian Hutt, MOOC Project Manager at the University of Manchester, said:

“We welcome our partnership with FutureLearn and are looking forward to the opportunities it offers. At the University of Manchester, teaching and learning is informed by our world-leading research activity. Our MOOCs allow us to share this with a diverse, global audience while also helping us to develop new tools and techniques to benefit all of our students, on- or off-campus.”

Professor Iain Martin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at UNSW Australia, said:

“We are delighted to be partnering with FutureLearn in the provision of MOOCs on their highly adaptable and innovative platform. The opportunity this provides not only extends the reach of UNSW globally, but will also spin back real benefits to our existing students and links strongly to the University’s developing strategic plan.”

FutureLearn, which is guided by theories of learning through conversation, continues to experience comparatively high levels of engagement and participation on its courses. 24% of people who start any given course complete the majority of steps and all of the assessments. In addition, close to 40% of learners are behaving socially, engaging in conversations around the course content and making comments which themselves become a rich source of learning material for others. FutureLearn is also bucking the male-dominated trend of many early MOOC platforms, with 60% of its learners being women.

FutureLearn is wholly owned by The Open University which has 45 years of expertise in distance and online learning. Close to two million learners from over 190 countries have registered since the first courses began in October 2013, generating almost 4 million course registrations between them.


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