FutureLearn expands MOOC partnerships to the U.S.
Image via FutureLearn.

FutureLearn, a UK-based social learning platform owned by the Open University, has announced its first partnerships with five American universities.

American University, Colorado State University, Penn State University, Purdue University, and UVA Darden School of Business will soon offer free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on the platform, which will run throughout the year.

For the institutions involved, the partnerships will allow them to make education more accessible through cutting-edge digital learning pedagogy.

“This partnership is another way the university is addressing its ability to improve access to higher education and advance understanding,” said Renata Engel, interim Vice Provost for online education at Penn State.

Rick Miranda, Colorado State University’s Provost, also commented: “Working with FutureLearn and other world-class institutions is a powerful way for CSU to share information and expertise that’s both interesting and valuable for people who love to learn.

“Lifelong learning from quality institutions is increasingly important as people adapt to rapid changes in industries and careers, and FutureLearn is a perfect extension of our mission as a Land Grant institution to engage with people in communities in Colorado and around the world as they extend their education and learning throughout the course of their lives.”

Meanwhile, Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn said: “FutureLearn is proud to be at the forefront of transforming higher education, combining our social learning pedagogy with next generation technology, to deliver market-leading course engagement rates.

“We work with around a quarter of the top universities in the world and are honoured to be welcoming such a stellar group of U.S. universities to join the FutureLearn partnership.”

He added that through the courses being offered, the company hoped to tackle the key challenge being faced across the U.S. and the rest of the world, namely upskilling the workforce, which he said is “something we will achieve not only with our university partners but also through partnerships with other major U.S. National organisations, who are focused on enhancing skills in key professions”.

Some of the courses that will be available on FutureLearn through the partnerships are: Energy, the environment and our future, Persuasive communication: What makes messages persuasive?, Maps and the geospatial revolution, and Introduction to R for Data Science.

Earlier this year, FutureLearn announced a partnership with Australian-based Deakin University, allowing students from anywhere in the world to achieve a postgraduate level qualification, studying with complete flexibility.

Since its first course kicked off in October 2013, FutureLearn has managed to attract over 5 million registered learners from almost every country around the world.  It currently partners with over 100 world-leading UK and international universities and specialist education providers to offer hundreds of high-quality online courses and has so far realised over 13 million course enrolments.

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