Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, have been hailed as the future of education. Having initially gained widespread recognition with the launch of Khan Academy, MOOCs offer users a way to learn that can be as simple as brushing up on their skills or as involved as learning an entirely new subject.
FutureLearn, new program controlled entirely by Open University, is making a wide variety of MOOCs available for free to anyone interested in learning the topics. While some, like those on different aspects of dentistry, might appeal only to a niche market of learners, others are farther reaching and have a greater impact on a larger audience, such as the brief courses on sustainability and climate change.
According to their website, “Our aim is to connect learners from all over the globe with high quality educators, and with each other. We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, with plenty of opportunities to discuss what you’ve studied, in order to make fresh discoveries and form new ideas…FutureLearn is in beta and the courses we’ll be running this year are all pilot courses. This allows us to shape and refine how it all works, using feedback and ideas from our learners. It is important to us to craft a high quality product which is tailored specifically to our learners’ needs, so we want to spend the time listening.”
While still in its early stages and only offering a short list of courses, FutureLearn has plans to incorporate new titles from professionals across a wide variety of fields soon.