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FutureLearn announces first US university partners

FutureLearn launches partnership with five leading US institutions

Posted by Sophie Beyer | February 14, 2017 | International

FutureLearn, the leading social learning platform owned by the Open University, has announced partnerships with five key education institutions in the US.  American University, Colorado State University, Penn State University, Purdue University and UVA Darden School of Business have all selected to work with FutureLearn and will run courses throughout 2017.

Since its first course began in October 2013, UK based FutureLearn has grown fast, attracting over 5 million registered learners from almost every country around the world.  It currently partners with over 100 world-leading UK and international universities and specialist education providers to offer hundreds of high quality online courses and has so far realised over 13 million course enrolments. Earlier this year, FutureLearn announced it will offer degrees with Australian based Deakin University, allowing students from anywhere in the world to achieve a postgraduate level qualification, studying with complete flexibility.  

Our partnership with FutureLearn provides exciting opportunities to serve new and existing audiences in the U.S. and globally using an innovative social learning platform

The FutureLearn approach is based on a social learning pedagogy that is designed to support learning through conversation on a platform with an award-winning user experience that works on any device with internet access. Its courses can reach huge scale, the largest so far being the British Council’s course, ‘Understanding IELTS’*, which attracted learners from more than 150 countries, including large areas of the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. Over 1.5 million learners have enrolled in this course across five runs. 

The new US partners will access a range of opportunities through working with FutureLearn:

  • Significantly extend international student reach: Partners will tap into a significant international community of potential learners within and outside of the US to be able to take their teaching global.
  • Integrate a cutting-edge digital learning pedagogy: FutureLearn will work with partners to bring their digital content learning to life for learners through its extensive online education expertise and unique approach to social learning backed by over 40 years of experience through the Open University.  
  • Innovate with a new network of world-leading organisations: The new partners will join a partnership of 75 world leading U.K., European, Australian and Asian universities to pursue innovation in education.  Universities will be able to collaborate to internationalise the curriculum and student learning experience, amplified by the unique FutureLearn pedagogy that facilitates peer-to-peer discussion and social interaction between learners.  
  • Build professional capabilities: Partners will develop courses to target learners entering or aiming to progress within the workplace to improve their skills, develop their careers and deepen their learning and interacting with other professionals from all over the world.  

Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn said: “FutureLearn is proud to be at the forefront of transforming higher education, combining our social learning pedagogy with next generation technology, to deliver market-leading course engagement rates.  We work with around a quarter of the top universities in the world and are honoured to be welcoming such a stellar group of US universities to join the FutureLearn partnership. It is also incredibly exciting to be tackling the key challenge being faced across the US and the rest of the world - upskilling the workforce; something we will achieve not only with our university partners but also through partnerships with other major US National organisations, who are focused on enhancing skills in key professions.”

Jonathan Harbor Director of Digital Education from Purdue University commented:  “As both an international and land-grant university, Purdue is committed to offering access to learning opportunities that bring a global perspective to a broad audience in ways that meet their educational needs. Our partnership with FutureLearn provides exciting opportunities to serve new and existing audiences in the U.S. and globally using an innovative social learning platform, and is part of our broader strategy to enhance our online presence moving forward.”  

Four courses from Purdue University will launch on 14 February: 

1. Communicating complex information
2. Body weight: How our brain, behaviour and genetics influence appetite and food choices.
3. Persuasive communication: What makes messages persuasive?
4. Introduction to R for Data Science

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