New online courses earn academic credits for degrees

A new range of online courses that will enable students to earn academic credits towards degrees has been launched.

Course leader Professor Jon Lovett, from the School of Geography, taught the University’s first MOOC, in October 2013.

Jon lovett

The University is one of eight leading higher education institutions from around the world offering such courses on the FutureLearn platform of massive open online courses (MOOCs).

Called Programs, they will enable learners to take part in high-quality online courses.

Leeds’ first Program is called Environmental Challenges and is made up of five short online courses that consider the relationships between people and nature, as well as the challenging and difficult decisions we face when managing natural resources.

Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, said: “We are very proud to be the first Russell Group university to launch a credit-bearing online course on the FutureLearn platform. 

“It signifies our on-going commitment to widen access to higher education and desire to offer flexible and inclusive education. It also showcases our excellence in research-based learning.”

Professor Neil Morris, the University’s Director of Digital Learning, added: “FutureLearn is an important partner in our ambitious digital strategy for student education at Leeds. We are making extensive use of the online platform to offer higher education to anyone with access to the internet and to extend the learning opportunities for our campus-based students.”

Also launching is a series of Programs that will allow learners to demonstrate continuing professional development and achieve formal professional accreditation from institutions such as St George’s (University of London), the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), and the British Council. 

Learners will be able to take part in Programs for free, trying out the course experience and checking its suitability for them before making the decision to pay for a certificate of achievement and final assessment. 

Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn, said: “We are delighted to be launching Programs and enabling our partners to use our platform to deliver learning for formal accreditation, as we see it as an important step in the unbundling of higher education and giving more control to the learner. 

“Allowing people to take part of a degree course with the flexibility offered by our platform means they can achieve meaningful qualifications whilst still being able to work and manage the other important parts of their lives. 

“Our unique approach means that learners will be supported through a social learning experience that allows them to learn with thousands of people from all over the world and collaborate within small groups.”

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