Under the partnerships, FutureLearn will power several course types for the universities, ranging up to full degree programs, seeing the company make a significant play outside its traditional short-course offerings. The courses are accessible from anywhere around the world with an internet connection.
“Delivering mass scale education like this is the only way we have at the moment to address growing demand around the world for high-quality education”
Murdoch University’s deputy vice-chancellor education Romy Lawson said the university chose to work with FutureLearn to tap into the platform’s social approach to online learning and access its global market base.
“FutureLearn is out there; it’s got over seven million active learners engaged with them,” she said.
“They’ll be introduced to Murdoch, they’ll be introduced to the type institution we are and what kind of things we’re working on, and hopefully see the high quality.”
As part of the partnership, learners can access a free sample of a full course, with the option to undertake formal assessment at the end of the trial to continue.
“We see it as a model that will attract different types of learners to the different kind of parts to it. It’s going to attract people who won’t actually go to do the credit-bearing parts of the different courses, and that’s okay,” Lawson said.
Mark Lester, FutureLearn’s partnership director, said the move was a logical progression in the implementation of the company’s platform.
“When we set out we developed a platform which was very new and designed to scale not just delivery of content, but fundamentally… social learning,” he said.
“Delivering mass scale education like this is the only way we have at the moment to address growing demand around the world for high-quality education. You can’t build the schools, the university campuses fast enough to cope with the sheer volume of demand in the world.”
Murdoch’s first course, a graduate certificate in health administration, policy and leadership, will be rolled out in May.