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Futurelearn Celebrates First Year and Comes Out of Beta

Futurelearn the UK-based MOOC provider, has removed its ‘beta’ tag. Since October of 2013, it has partnered with 40 institutions to offer 130 courses, reaching nearly 800,000 students taking 1.7 million courses. There have been highly popular courses, about Shakespeare, cognitive poetics, and Parkinson’s disease. There have also been unique courses offered in partnership with other institutions, such as a series of courses on World War I with the BBC, and Exploring English with the British Council.

Futurelearn has a distinctive approach among MOOC providers, emphasizing social interaction among students, high-quality design & production, and topics  of current interest. There are a broad range of subjects, with some timely topics including: The Discovery of the Higgs Boson, Shale Gas and Fracking: the Politics and Science, and Ebola: Symptoms, History, and Origins (topics where a brief overview on Wikipedia won’t suffice). Thus, Futurelearn is not looking to merely copy the larger MOOC providers. As Matt Walton, Head of Product at Futurelearn, says:

We don’t think anyone has yet created a truly great, enjoyable and effective online learning product and it’s our mission to do so. 

Futurelearn is a private company owned by The Open University in the UK, works primarily with UK university partners, but it has been expanding, working with top  universities in Norway, The Netherlands, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and more recently, China, and South Korea. Consistent with its roots in open education, it has announced it will make all of the content it its course content openly available. This means that even those not enrolled in the course may share the resources and links that were used.

Consistent with its roots in open education, it has announced it will make all of the content it its course content openly available. 

The company has new initiatives planned for 2015, and it is interesting to see the growth of other regions outside of Europe. Given it’s early success and undoubtedly unique approach, we are eager to see what Futurelearn will do in its sophomore year.

You can look at BestCerts’s list of Futurelearn courses with start dates and ratings.