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FutureLearn secures its first US partners

FutureLearn, a MOOC platform owned by the UK’s Open University, has announced five US universities will be offering courses through its system, marking the first time it has partnered with educational institutions in the US.

FutureLearn has announced five US partner institutionsSeveral courses are expected to be offered from the five new partner institutions in the coming months. Photo: FutureLearn

The platform now has a total of 119 partners, of which 70 are universities

American University, Colorado State University, Penn State University, Purdue University and University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business will all be offering a number of courses on the platform this year, further expanding FutureLearn’s global reach.

Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn, said the company has been working towards bringing on US educators for some time. The new addition will help to accelerate the platform’s growth in the US, one of the biggest markets in the world for online learning, he said.

“We want to create portfolios of more professionally relevant courses and qualifications”

“I think it will broaden our reach in the US, but also increase our credibility all over the world by having these prestigious new institutions alongside our existing partners,” he told The PIE News.

With its new partners and courses, the company is aiming to tackle the challenge of upskilling the workforce, both in the US and internationally.

“We want to create portfolios of more professionally relevant courses and qualifications that people who work, or are about to enter work, or are trying to get jobs, can use to develop further their skills,” he said.

“Not to the exclusion of the broader range of content we offer, but definitely we think that this is one of the most important areas of value we can bring to learners.”

The US institutions have already announced five courses in subjects including persuasive communication and data science, with several more expected in the coming months.

Tom Steenburgh, senior associate dean for executive education and non-credit at UVA’s Darden School of Business, said FutureLearn’s focus on the community of learners aligns with the school’s “collaborative and participative approach to business education”.

“Darden looks forward to the partnership providing another avenue for the school to drive innovation in pursuit of transformational learning opportunities for all,” he said.

In December, FutureLearn announced a partnership with Deakin University, its first with an Australian institution, to offer a series of postgraduate degrees to online learners.

The platform now has a total of 119 partners, of which 70 are universities.

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