Futurelearn is a UK-based MOOC platform that launched to great fanfare late last year, and was hailed by some as a potential ‘British Coursera’. They have been growing rapidly with 350,00 cumulative learners, and 38 university/institution partnerships, including a recent announcement of 7 new partners, four of which are outside of the UK:
- Yonsei University and Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) in South Korea
- University of Oslo in Norway
- University of Cape Town in South Africa
- University of Aberdeen, University of London – London School of Hygiene, University of London – Royal Holloway in the UK
BestCerts spoke with Tania Duarte, Futurelearn’s Head of Marketing and Communications, to learn more. Futurelearn is owned by the Open University of the UK, and though The Open University has offered online courses for several years, Futurelearn is a separate organization focused on offering the modern type of popular MOOCs. It appears that Futurelearn is being run like a startup as evidenced by its speed in signing up partners and offering ~80 different courses thus far. Also, the site still has a label of ‘Beta’, even though it is already a fully functional platform that is scaling to hundreds of thousands of users (Tania hints that more features are coming soon that will distinguish it from other MOOC providers). It also reaches beyond the UK, as 40% of the 350,000 learners are located outside the UK, with the U.S. and China being having the next largest concentrations.
40% of the 350,000 learners are located outside the UK
The courses offered on Futurelearn (see the ongoing, up-to-date list on BestCerts) span a wide variety of topics, ranging from computer science, fiction writing, international relations, and professional job skills. The following shows the breakdown of subject areas covered in the current MOOCs being offered:
The following are the Futurelearn courses generating the most interest among BestCerts users:
Futurelearn has signed up some great partner institutions and is offering an interesting and unique mix of courses. Hopefully, they will also introduce new methods and features that will increase the diversity of MOOC experiences. There is a great deal of room in the MOOC space for the energy, networks, and resources Futurelearn can bring to the table, and they are a welcome valuable addition.