/ 20 Apr 2020


FutureLearn was founded in 2012 by the Open University in collaboration with other universities in the United Kingdom as a platform for online courses. Similar to Coursera, it now offers courses, programs and online degrees from more than 80 partner institutions around the world. 

The platform is a for-profit business, but many of the courses it offers are free to students who want just the course, not a credential. 

In response to global concerns over the novel coronavirus and Covid-19, the disease it causes, FutureLearn recently added two new courses.

One, “How to Teach Online: Providing Continuity for Students,” is taught by FutureLearn’s own experts and is designed to help educators who have to rapidly move a course from face-to-face to online teaching.

The other, “COVID-19: Tackling the Novel Coronavirus,” was developed by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and provides basic information on the virus and how it spreads. Both of these courses are free.A related course, “Managing COVID-19 in General Practice,” developed by St George’s, University of London, is available free for four weeks: Those who want more time to take the course or who want a certificate of completion pay $44.

Types of Courses and Programs:

FutureLearn provides short courses, online degrees, and course sequences called microcredentials or programs. Microcredentials allow students to build particular career skills that FutureLearn says are in demand, such as digital photography. Programs help students build more in-depth understanding of a broad subject, such as the “Causes of Human Disease,” with the possibility of earning a professional or academic credential from well-regarded universities.

How Does it Work?

Short Courses: These courses are available as pre-recorded videos that can be shown on a weekly schedule or at the student’s convenience. Courses are provided by universities and other educational organizations. Students can obtain a course-completion certificate for a fee. 

Microcredentials and Programs: Microcredentials are modules created by universities that allow students to deepen their knowledge and expertise in a particular job-related skill. The university that creates the microcredential specifies the type of academic credit students may earn, and these credits may be transferrable to other universities. Programs are longer sequences of three to eight university courses that allow students to deepen their knowledge of a topic and earn academic credits.

Online Degrees: FutureLearn provides bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, as well as postgraduate certificates, in more than 30 subjects. These are flexible online learning programs developed by the Open University and other universities, including Coventry University in the United Kingdom and Deakin University in Australia.

Costs and Financial Aid:

There are three levels of access to courses on FutureLearn: 

Free: Enrolling in this category gives students access to the course learning materials for a limited period of time (the course length plus two extra weeks) and sometimes to quizzes and tests if available, but students do not earn a credential unless they upgrade.

Upgrade: This option allows students to obtain a digital or printed certificate of achievement and unlimited access to the learning materials. Costs vary from course to course, ranging from about $29 to $82.

Unlimited:  This option gives students access the upgraded version of all courses available. It costs around $248 a year.

No financial aid is available within the platform, but grants may be provided by the universities that provide the courses, along with occasional scholarships like the Dublin City University/Future Learn scholarship for refugees and asylum seekers in Ireland. This scholarship allows recipients to sign up for the upgraded version of the course for free. 

Ease of Use of the Platform and Visual Style:

The courses are listed in categories and subcategories, as well as divided into the three types of programs. The search function on the website works well. This makes finding the topic and type of course easier. Course length varies, normally from six to ten weeks. Weekly topics include a group of lessons, each containing videos, audio files, articles to read and other resources. Also there will be some tasks and quizzes. Students can share thoughts, questions and comments with the learning community using the comments margin underneath the learning material. Apps are available for use on both iOS and Android smart devices.

Academic Disciplines and Subjects Included:

Business and management, creative arts and media, healthcare and medicine, history, information technology and computer science, language, law, literature, nature and environment, politics and society, psychology and mental health, science, engineering and mathematics, study skills and teaching.

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Copyright © 2018 Al-Fanar Mediaحقوق © 2018 الفنار للإعلام


Copyright © 2018 Al-Fanar Mediaحقوق © 2018 الفنار للإعلام