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FutureLearn MOOC Platform Adds 5 New Universities

FutureLearn has attracted five new institutions to join its MOOC platform with massive, open, online courses. Alongside 45 other universities and 19 other kinds of organizations will be Complutense University of Madrid, UK's Durham University and University of Manchester, Keio University in Japan and the University of New South Wales in Australia.

Aside from the international flavor of its contributing schools, FutureLearn distinguishes itself from other platforms by promoting social engagement among participating students in unique ways. For example, all learning materials — articles, audio and video — accommodates comments and questions by the students, which appear in a margin on large screens and below on small screens.

Students can "follow" other students to filter discussions to include only those people they want to interact with. According to the company, nearly 40 percent of learners interact in the social aspects of the site by participating in conversations around the course content and making comments.

The first course delivered by this new set of contributors will come from the Australian institution, which will explore "Maths for Humans: Linear, Quadratic & Inverse Relations," intended to "strengthen" students' skills in algebra, geometry and thinking. That will start on October 12. It will last three weeks and is expected to require about three hours of work per week. In 2016, the university will run a seven-week MOOC on "Military Ethics."

All other courses will also appear in 2016. Complutense will launch, "Viral Diseases in Animals." Keio will explore Japan's long history of book production, drawing on the university's extensive collection of rare books. Durham will focus on the topic of innovation across the supply chain." U Manchester will examine, "Clinical Bioinformatics for Healthcare Professionals."

"Social learning has made great strides through FutureLearn and I know our global community of learners will relish the opportunity to engage with leading educators from these five institutions as they pursue their goals for professional development and further study," said FutureLearn Chief Executive Simon Nelson in a prepared statement.

Added Ian Hutt, MOOC project manager at Manchester, "Our MOOCs allow us to share this with a diverse, global audience while also helping us to develop new tools and techniques to benefit all of our students, on or off campus."

FutureLearn is owned by UK-based Open University, a public university that delivers distance and online education.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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