Open University is to team up with eleven top universities in the UK to offer free internet courses in a bid to rival elite US institutions which have already entered this field.
The courses offered by FutureLearn, a new company funded by Open University, will be non-credit bearing. The UK system will be based on the US phenomenon ‘massive open online courses’ (moocs) whose courses have attracted millions of users across the globe and are especially popular in emerging countries.
Simon Nelson, launch CEO of FutureLearn, said: “It’s a really enlightening move for these universities to come together – we’ll punch so much harder collectively than any other university would individually.” Professor Martin Bean, vice-chancellor of the Open University, further comments: “This is also about unlocking institutions to citizens in the UK as well as abroad. There will be people who want to use it for employment outcomes, and we contemplate users will be able to do a formal invigilated exam if they want to show they were tested to a higher standard of rigour.”