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University of Kent partners with FutureLearn to make its expertise in Erlang available to FutureLearn’s 5 million learners 

London, UK, 28 November 2016: FutureLearn, the social learning platform, today announces its latest partner, the University of Kent, whose first course “Functional Programming in Erlang” is the first MOOC (massive open online course) dedicated to Erlang and has just opened for enrolment.

Functional programming has become increasingly important in providing global-scale applications on the internet. For example, the language is the basis of the WhatsApp messaging system, which now has over a billion users.

This first course is designed to teach the principles of functional programming and combines treatment of the theory of functional programming, and the practice of how that works in Erlang and is reinforced through practical exercises as well as more substantial suggested practical projects. A further 3-week course “Concurrent Programming in Erlang”, focusing on concurrency, will be offered from April.

Those who join the course can expect to learn:

  • why Erlang was developed
  • how Erlang’s design was shaped by the context in which it was used, and how Erlang can be used in practice today
  • how to write programs using the concepts of functional programming, including, in particular, recursion, pattern matching and immutable data
  • how to apply knowledge of lists and other Erlang data types in programs, and
  • how to implement higher-order functions using generic patterns

The course will begin on 20th February 2017 but learners can enrol now here.

Nigel Smith, Head of Content at FutureLearn, commented, “The University of Kent is considered one of the leading authorities in functional programming so we are delighted that their first course on our platform will enable our learners to benefit from their years of expertise in this subject area.”

Dr Mark O’Connor, MOOCs project lead at the University of Kent, commented, “We are very much looking forward to an exciting partnership with FutureLearn. We first investigated MOOCs with a successful pilot in Erlang, as part of a ‘Beacon Project’ celebrating the University of Kent’s 50th anniversary. One of the key recommendations from our pilot was to partner with FutureLearn, so that we can use their excellent and accessible specialized MOOC platform and achieve greater reach for our courses. We’re now delighted to bring this improved course to a wider audience and to develop further online courses to strengthen public engagement with scholarship and research at Kent.”


The course is suitable for learners who have some prior experience of programming but functional programming experience in particular is not required. The course will be relevant to computing practitioners who want to gain an understanding and experience of this technology, students of computer science, or self-taught programmers who want to take their knowledge to the next level.


In addition to the Erlang Programming courses, The University of Kent is also developing courses in understanding autism and in endurance sports performance which learners will be able to enroll for early next year.

As with all FutureLearn courses, learners can sign up and attend the course online for free while Certificates of Achievement and Statements of Participation for the Functional programming in Erlang course will be available at the cost of £49 and £34 respectively.


Notes to editors

About FutureLearn

“Pioneering the best social learning experiences for everyone anywhere”

Founded by The Open University in 2012, FutureLearn is a social learning platform, designed to support learning through conversation. It offers over 5 million learners free online courses from world-leading UK and international universities, centres of research excellence and specialist education providers like the British Council, Creative Skillset and European Space Agency. In May this year, and as a global first, FutureLearn announced that learners could now earn degree course credit through MOOCs with the introduction of a set of Programs.

About University of Kent

The University of Kent, the UK’s European University, is one of the country’s most dynamic universities. Established in 1965, it now has over 20,000 students studying at its various campuses including Canterbury, Medway and Tonbridge in the picturesque south-east of England (close to London) and its European sites in Brussels, Paris, Athens and Rome.

The University is a major educational, economic and cultural force throughout its region and has well-established external networks and partnerships with leading universities in Europe and around the world, providing students with opportunities to study and work abroad.

Ranked in the Top 20 of UK universities (16th in the Guardian University Guide 2016), Kent has an established reputation for the quality of its research; confirmed by its excellent performance (17th in the UK) in the most recent Research Assessment Framework (REF) where all its academic schools were found to be engaged in research of international and world-class standing.

Students consistently rank Kent as offering one of the best student experiences in the UK and it achieved the 4th highest score for overall student satisfaction in the most recent National Student Survey. For more information about FutureLearn MOOCs at Kent, click here.

For more information, please contact:

Niamh O’Grady, Communications, FutureLearn


For more information on University of Kent:


Phone:  +44 1227 823985


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