Wednesday 18 September saw the course catalogue launched for FutureLearn, a project I have been working on since the beginning of the year.
The go-live event included a speech by Martin Bean (vice chancellor of The Open University); a demonstration of the website by Simon Nelson (chief executive officer of FutureLearn), and a speech by David Willetts (Minister for Universities and Science), who said: “This is a high quality educational offering online and it’s right that we should be celebrating it today.”
Simon Nelson pointed to the opportunities that FutureLearn will provide for people to learn for free with experts and with each other. The social learning platform harnesses the power of social experience, delight and effective learning design to allow people to learn anytime, anywhere.
David Willetts made a connection with the recent launch of Europe’s largest telecommunications satellite. The satellite opens the possibility for universal broadband access across Africa. Put this together with a social learning platform that is designed for use on mobile devices, and opportunities for access to good quality higher education begin to open up to millions of people across the world.
The FutureLearn initiative brings together universities from across Britain, as well as Ireland and Australia, and is led by The Open University. Vice chancellor, Martin Bean, commented that
“if there was an Ivy League of distance universities in the world, The Open University would be Number One.’