UK universities to launch free degree-style online courses


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Students generally receive a certificate for completing the courses, but do not receive academic credit toward any conventional degree qualification. Courses typically involve students working through set assignments online, including video lectures delivered by academics at the institutions offering the courses, before evaluating one another’s work.

Specific details of the courses on offer through Futurelearn will be announced “early in the New Year”.

Universities Minister David Willetts said he welcomed the move by British universities to create their own rival platform: “The UK must be at the forefront of developments in education technology.”

He added: “Massive open online courses present an opportunity for us to widen access to, and meet the global demand for, higher education. This is growing rapidly in emerging economies like Brazil, India and China.”

In fact, some British institutions are already offering Moocs through the established American platforms. Edinburgh University began offering courses through Coursera in July – including subjects such as

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