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Nine more universities embrace social learning on FutureLearn

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FutureLearn has welcomed nine new university partners as it continues to grow the line-up of institutions offering free online courses on the social learning platform. The new additions feature FutureLearn’s first academic partners from Colombia, France, Spain and Switzerland.  

The list of European institutions now includes FutureLearn’s first Swiss partner, the University of Basel, as well as the University of Bergen in Norway. Paris Diderot University and Pompeu Fabra University join as the first partners from France and Spain respectively, while the University of Twente is the most recent institution to join from The Netherlands.

University of Los Andes, based in Bogota, Colombia, becomes the first Latin American university to offer free online courses to FutureLearn’s global community of learners. Finally, from the UK come three more colleges from the University of London – Goldsmiths, SOAS (the School of Oriental and African Studies) and St George’s, University of London.

This brings the FutureLearn partnership to a total of 54, comprising 51 higher and specialist education institutions, and three cultural organisations – the British Council, British Library and the British Museum.

Simon Nelson, chief executive of FutureLearn, made the announcement today (9 March) morning during his opening keynote address at the Jisc Digital Festival in Birmingham, which celebrates the best in UK digital talent in education.

He said: ‘As FutureLearn continues to attract more and more international learners, it brings into sharp focus the need to give them the choice to access as many of the world’s leading universities as possible. Social learning is proving to be one of the most effective means of delivering online courses at scale, and I am proud to welcome this roll call of prestigious universities from around the world.’

FutureLearn continues to experience comparatively high levels of engagement and participation on its courses, with 23 per cent of people who start a course completing the majority of steps and all of the assessments. Close to 40 per cent of learners are behaving socially, engaging in conversations around the course content and making comments which themselves become a rich source of learning material for others. FutureLearn is also bucking the male-dominated trend of many early MOOC (massive open online course) platforms, with 60 per cent of its learners being women.

FutureLearn is wholly owned by The Open University, which has 44 years of expertise in distance and online learning. More than one million learners from 190 countries have registered since the first courses began 15 months ago, generating more than 2.3 million course registrations between them.