Major UK universities to award degree course credit through MOOCs for the first time with FutureLearn programs

In addition, FutureLearn will offer valuable professional qualifications and CPD accreditation through its platform.

FutureLearn, the social learning platform owned by The Open University, has announced today that learners will now be able to use its massive open online courses (MOOCs) to earn academic course credits for degrees and MBAs, professional qualifications and formal CPD accreditation.

13 FutureLearn programs* from nine leading higher education institutions from around the world, including the University of Leeds and The Open University, are rolling out today.

The new programs on FutureLearn will enable learners to take part in high-quality online courses and deliver access to some of the top universities in the world with degree course modules worth up to 30 UK academic credits.

Also launching are a series of programs that will allow learners to demonstrate Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and achieve formal professional accreditation with programs from leading institutions such as St George’s, University of London, the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and the British Council.

Learners will be able to take part in programs for free, trying out the course experience and checking its suitability for them, before making the decision to pay for a Certificate of Achievement and the final assessment.

Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn, said: “We are delighted to be launching programs and enabling our partners to use our platform to deliver learning for formal accreditation, as we see it as an important step in the unbundling of higher education and giving more control to the learner. Allowing people to take part of a degree course with the flexibility offered by our platform means that they can achieve meaningful qualifications whilst still being able to work and manage the other important parts of their lives. Our unique approach means that learners will be supported through a social learning experience that allows them to learn with thousands of people from all over the world and collaborate within small groups.”

Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, said: “The University of Leeds is very proud to be the first Russell Group University to launch a credit bearing online course on the FutureLearn platform. It signifies our on-going commitment to widen access to higher education and desire to offer flexible and inclusive education, and showcases our excellence in research-based learning.”

Professor Neil Morris, Director of Digital Learning at the University of Leeds, said: “FutureLearn is an important partner in our ambitious digital strategy for student education at Leeds. We are making extensive use of the platform to offer higher education to anyone with access to the Internet and to extend the learning opportunities for our campus-based students.”

Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, Peter Horrocks, said: “This innovative offer of credit is a clear demonstration of the disruptive potential of MOOCs in offering more efficient, competitive and learner-focused study options. It is a modern illustration of the OU’s historic mission to extend quality education to the greatest number of people possible.  The OU is deeply proud of FutureLearn, the world’s leading social learning platform, and a fantastic advert for UK higher education.”

Notes to editors

* FutureLearn is an international platform with over 70% of its learners based outside of the UK. We have therefore adopted the international spelling of programs to appeal to our wide learner base.

How programs work

To take a program, learners will need to complete between two and eight specially designed short open courses and buy a Certificate of Achievement for each.  To complete programs that are recognised for academic credit or offer a qualification, learners will also be required to pay for and pass a further assessment module (where relevant). Our higher education partners will award credit against the grade achieved that can count towards specific degree courses or qualifications. Programs will cost from £117.

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 3.6 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.

For more information, please contact:

Sarah Mulder, Head of Communications, FutureLearn
Email: sarah.mulder@futurelearn.com, Phone: 07720 401466

Gareth Dant, Media Relations Manager, University of Leeds
Email: g.j.dant@leeds.ac.uk, Phone: 0113 3433996

Rachel James, Deputy Head of Media Relations, The Open University
Email: rachel.james@open.ac.uk, Phone: 07500 606103