Coursera And Udacity Gain Competition As FutureLearn Joins The MOOC Bandwagon

FutureLearn has launched with an open beta website and a roster of free online courses. The UK based program is an alliance of many British educational institutions and also worldwide recognized names like British Council, British Library and the British Museum. FutureLearn is owned by The Open University and its making a foray into the very open space of Massively Open Online Courses (MOOC) with nearly 26 educational partners.

While Coursera and Udacity have become recognizable names in the online courses arena, FutureLearn is a late-starter. But the beginning has been made with the launch of its educational portal and free courses on offer from the partner institutes. The 20 pilot courses will run throughout the year and learners can join from any part of the globe. The popularity of the courses and population of students will help FutureLearn test the waters and expand the bouquet as the online education provider moves forward with more full-fledged and paid courses. The free courses listed on the website cover a broad range of subjects – from computer programming to medicine and forensic science.

futurelearn   Coursera And Udacity Gain Competition As FutureLearn Joins The MOOC Bandwagon

The free courses also allow students from around the world to evaluate the quality for themselves. Some eminent universities are behind the educational content, but online students now have multiple options from quality course providers like Harvard and Stanford as well. Coursera and Udacity have a head start. It will take a few leaps for FutureLearn to come alongside them. In the meantime, students can grab the learning benefits as options and topics open up in the MOOC world.

Browse the courses on offer by FutureLearn. What you think about the prospects of FutureLearn? What does it mean for you as an online learner?

Source: FutureLearn via Techcrunch

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8 Comments -

Steve Lindsey

Late starter?

The Open University (UK) has been involved in distance learning for more than 40 years, in recent times much of it on-line.

Saikat B

Both are different and separate platforms. OU owns FutureLearn, but the organization and course delivery platforms are completely different. OU is a long-distance university in all the traditional sense of the word. FutureLearn is a MOOC “platform” through which a diverse set of institutes offer their open courses.

steve lindsey

Having experienced both “platforms” I’m aware of what they are but I maintain that an organisation with a quarter of a million (distant) students is hardly a “late starter”

Jordey

I don’t know if it’s late starter or not, but the courses that I saw on their website are the usual University blah-blah courses. I see no value to waste my time watching “England in the time of King Richard III” – come one, this course can only be watched by some seniors in a rainy day.

Saikat B

Well, you never know who has a use for them. No learning ever goes waste. If someone in India is learning about medieval European history, then it could be beneficial to them.

Dave Paola

While competition in the MOOCs marketplace is growing, the efficacy of these courses to fill the recruiting void remains unclear. In my field of web-development, for example, there is a surplus of jobs at both large companies and startups for people who know how to code. While many organizations like Coursera and Udacity pitch DIY educations in programming, they don’t yield web-developers who are competent enough to get even entry-level jobs.

Hybrid platforms exist to address is issue. Bloc (www.bloc.io), for example, offers an intensive online curriculum in web development with an integrated mentorship aspect, thus giving students the benefits of accessibility of an online education with the advantages of having a teacher to help work through problems on a personal level. Unlike traditional MOOCs, Bloc outputs professionally competent web-developers.

Saikat B

The media also builds up the hype. You will find a glut of articles saying that learning to code “guarantees” you a job. I also feel that hybrid programs and blended courses is the way forward, unless industry creates a bridge between what these courses provide and the skills companies demand. For now, they can be used for DIY learning and professional development.

Thomas Malory

If imagination and creativity are components of successful online learning then FutureLearn should design their own website instead of simply copying edX’s. But if they want to be merely trend-followers they are right on track.