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This project has been widely reported so this cloud is a base for discussion. Starts with a fairly typical report from Techcrunc

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Will Pollard
17 December 2012

Today’s news means even more MOOCs will be offered next year, as 12 UK universities are getting together to form a new company that will offer the online courses — under the brand name ofFutureLearn Ltd. The universities are: BirminghamBristolCardiffEast AngliaExeterKing’s College LondonLancasterLeeds,  SouthamptonSt Andrews and Warwick, along with UK distance-learning organization The Open University (OU).

Several U.S. universities have already jumped aboard the MOOC mobile, including the likes of Harvard and MIT, and while FutureLearn’s partner universities are not the first UK universities to chase a slice of MOOC pie either — Edinburgh University, for example, joined the Courseraconsortium in July — they appear to be the first such large group to set up a dedicated MOOC business located in the UK.

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Will Pollard
2:39pm 17 December 2012

The aspect I like is the return to adult education. I notice Exeter and Lancaster are both part of the project. I live in Exeter and have attended a summer holiday course at Lancaster ( no longer available ) . Universities seem to be aimed at a global PhD market. Presumably I will be able to find an Exeter course through FutureLearn. Not sure whether anything will relate by way of blending.

Will Pollard
5:54pm 19 December 2012

I have added a couple of links to blogs.

Can't find the blog source at the moment but it has been pointed out that FutureLearn seems a very UK based project. No news so far of any European aspect.

Madeline Paterson
11:17pm 19 December 2012

Please tell us, all the universities... What does this amount to? What is the business model, the plan, the platform, the production approach?

Will Pollard
3:05pm 20 December 2012

These are very good questions.

So far what I have gathered from variuous blogs

In New Zealand the debate concluded that MOOCs are not disruptive. But from what I heard it may be that some academiucs just don't like them.

The disruption may be a bigger threat for somewhere like the Open University based on broadcast televison models from around thirty years ago. In California they are used to social media or whatever they call it.

The universities that depend on a reputation for research not education will not have to bother. I'm not sure about this one and may have mis stated it.


Will Pollard
3:27pm 20 December 2012

Madeline, one other thing I forgot to mention. No sources, I will come back to this in the new year with proper links.

The government support and some of the media coverage seems very UK orientated, as if the web is mostly English language and the UK can jump in any time only a short gap behind the USA. This is open to question. The varioius claims that the UK will be best in the world for broadband by some vague date in the future have turned out to be not consistent with OECD figures. EU research on e-learning has been sustained and well funded.

I think there are strong links from OU to other open universities. But not much info so far how FutureLearn benefits.

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