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FutureLearn launches free online course to support educators affected by COVID-19

First ever FutureLearn branded course developed by in-house online teaching and learning experts 

19 March 2020, London, UK: FutureLearn, the leading social learning platform, is launching a free online course called ‘How to Teach Online: Providing Continuity for Students’, designed to support educators currently faced with the imminent move to online teaching as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. 

With the continuation of the coronavirus pandemic, many schools and universities around the world are either already closed or will potentially close soon. FutureLearn recognises that many teachers will not have had prior experience with teaching online and, in response to this, has created its first ever branded course to help provide educators with practical steps to deliver learning and student support online. 

How to Teach Online: Providing Continuity for Students’ will be led by FutureLearn’s Learning Team, whose role is to develop the learner experience across the platform, informing its development, the learning design of courses, and gathering new insight into how people learn online. 

The course will also include contributions from some of FutureLearn’s partnership of prestigious higher education institutions and teaching organisations; the British Council, Chartered College of Teaching, Girls’ Day School Trust, University College London, Dublin City University, University of Exeter Business School, SOAS University of London, University of Manchester, Cardiff University and the University of Sheffield. 

Some partners are joining as mentors in the discussions and to answer questions throughout the course. This means learners get access to some of the world’s leading minds in the field of online teaching and learning as well as their excellent resources to help teachers get going online. 

During the course, educators will learn how to adapt their practices to an online context and will develop approaches and techniques to engage their students online. The course offers practical and community-driven support and educators will be encouraged to share their best practices to create a sense of community and a wider pool of online teaching approaches that work. 

The course is open for enrollment now and will begin on 23rd March. The course is three weeks long and is planned to repeat every three weeks during these unprecedented times. 

Simon Nelson, Chief Executive at FutureLearn, commented: “Supporting educators and academics during this unprecedented shift from the classroom to online learning is one of FutureLearn’s biggest priorities at present. Our mission is to transform access to education and, in spite of the disruption that COVID-19 is bringing to schools and universities across the globe, it is incredibly important that students continue to receive a quality education.” 

Matt Jenner, lead educator of the course and Learner Experience Lead at FutureLearn, commented: “We know there are a lot of excellent teachers out there who are suddenly finding themselves navigating new and unfamiliar online environments to teach. We support teachers to produce engaging and meaningful online learning experiences and we wanted to help. As a result, we’ve built this course, from scratch, in a week. 

“We also wanted to create a community of practice that shares their own challenges, ways of teaching and learner needs – our goal is to connect teachers so they can share, reuse and remix approaches that are simple and effective. We’ll be there, alongside contributors from our partnership of prestigious higher education institutions and teaching organisations, to support and guide those who take the course. We’re in this together and we all want to ensure continuity for learners across the globe.”

– ENDS –

Notes to editors:

Course mentors 

Diana Laurillard, Professor of Learning with Digital Technology, UCL Institute of Education

Chris Cavey, Open Learning Manager, English & Exams, British Council

Claire Ross, British Council 

Cat Scutt, Director of Education and Research, Chartered College of Teaching

Hannah Tyreman, Head of Online Learning, Chartered College of Teaching

Amy Icke, Online Learning and Innovation Manager, Girls’ Day School Trust

Professor Mark Brown, Director, National Institute for Digital Learning, DCU 

Lisa Harris, Director of Digital Learning, University of Exeter Business School

Dr J Simon Rofe, Academic Head of Digital Learning, SOAS University of London

Angela Davies, University of Manchester 

Neil Mosley, Digital Learning Designer, Cardiff University

Laura Giles, The University of Sheffield

About FutureLearn 

Here at FutureLearn, our purpose is to transform access to education. We do that by partnering with over a quarter of the world’s top universities to support over 10 million learners across the globe to develop skills and achieve their personal and professional goals. We’re a leading social learning platform founded in December 2012 by The Open University and are now jointly owned by The Open University and The SEEK Group. We use design, technology and partnerships to create enjoyable, credible and flexible short online courses and microcredentials, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. In addition to top universities, we also partner with leading organisations such as Accenture, the British Council, CIPD, Raspberry Pi and Health Education England (HEE), as well as being involved in government-backed initiatives to address skills gaps such as The Institute of Coding and the National Centre for Computing Education


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