The University of Nottingham will offer free courses online as part of a new venture run by the Open University.
The University has joined Futurelearn — an online platform offering free course content from the UK’s top universities.
Futurelearn aims to establish the UK as a global leader in online higher education, with the potential to benefit students all over the world.
Owned by The Open University, Futurelearn has signed agreements with 17 university partners in all. In addition, the OU has signed an agreement allowing it to develop online courses using resources from the British Library.
The news was announced by Prime Minister David Cameron during a major business and skills mission to India.
Mr Cameron said: “Britain boasts some of the best universities in the world. This innovative new offer led by The Open University will mean that Indian students can access some of the best teaching and learning online from their home in Mumbai or Delhi.
“I'm delighted that Futurelearn is expanding to include more British universities and the British Library. I hope it will encourage many more Indian students to take the next step and study with a UK university.”
High quality resources
Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, said: “Futurelearn has the potential to be transformational. It will help leverage the high quality academic resources and innovative technologies that UK higher education has to offer.
“The breadth of access will capture a wider cohort of learners than is traditionally possible, further affirming the underpinning altruistic principles by which UK universities operate. The University of Nottingham’s unique global footprint will be further enhanced by this development, and we look forward to working in collaboration with the Open University in this venture.”
The First Futurelearn courses will be open to students in the second half of 2013.
'Anything is possible'
Welcoming the new partner institutions, Open University Vice-Chancellor and Chairman of Futurelearn, Martin Bean, said: “We’re in the middle of an exciting time for higher education in which anything is possible. I am delighted that these iconic institutions — the British Library and five top universities — have joined us on our journey to make Futurelearn the world’s best source of free, open, online courses.
“I’m convinced that Futurelearn will quickly become a great, innovative British export. We’re building on the country’s 800-year history of higher education to deliver a best in class teaching and learning experience that will benefit students all over the world.”
Simon Nelson, CEO of Futurelearn, said: “I am thrilled that more of the UK’s top institutions have joined Futurelearn, which will bring the best of UK teaching to students worldwide. Until now, this market has been dominated by companies based in the US, but with 18 UK partners, we are determined to provide the smartest and most engaging online learning experiences and revolutionise conventional models of education.”
A global leader
Futurelearn was launched in December 2012. It is an online platform that will make courses from the UK’s best universities available online for free. It aims to establish the UK as a global leader in online higher education, offering world-class UK university courses to students across the globe.
In addition, it aims to strengthen UK higher education by building innovation in the development of online teaching and learning practices.
Futurelearn’s university partners are: Nottingham, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Anglia, Exeter, King’s College London, Lancaster, Leeds, Southampton, St Andrews, Warwick, Bath, Leicester, Queen’s Belfast and Reading.
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottinghamhas 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It was ‘one of the first to embrace a truly international approach to higher education’, according to the Sunday Times University Guide 2013. It is also one of the most popular universities among graduate employers, one of the world’s greenest universities, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong and the QS World Rankings.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its research into global food security.
Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fundraising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…