The British MOOC Invasion2017-02-14,
[출처] Inside Higher Ed_News_2017. 2. 14.

The British MOOC Invasion

FutureLearn, the massive open online course provider owned by the Open University in the U.K., expands to the U.S.

The British massive open online courses are coming. FutureLearn, the education platform owned by the Open University in the U.K., said this morning that it is expanding into the U.S. with five initial university partners: American University, Colorado State University, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University and the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. The universities will all offer noncredit courses on the platform this year, and more U.S.-based institutions are expected to join them.


“We’re beyond that initial overhype of MOOCs,” Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn, said in an interview. “We’re now evolving into an exciting partnership to help universities with their digital transition and the core business of teaching students and reaching out to learners all over the world.”

Nelson said that strategy is informed by 15 years at the British Broadcasting Corporation working on TV and radio development. The debate about MOOCs, he said, resembled the debate about on-demand programming such as Netflix and podcasts; some viewed it as an existential threat, while others dismissed it as a fad. He said he takes a middle-of-the-road approach, recognizing that MOOCs have been “overhyped” but acknowledging the opportunities that they present.

“What’s actually happened is they’ve been a fantastic catalyst for universities and other players to rethink or start to think about what they’re doing to digitally transform their institutions,” Nelson said. FutureLearn’s partnerships with colleges, he added, are “about us identifying areas of mutual strategic benefit and working hard as partners, not as suppliers and customers.”

The U.S. is already FutureLearn’s second-largest market, based on the number of learners who have signed up for courses. “We want to understand the fabric of U.S. education and learning system and then become a core part of it,” Nelson said.

Most of FutureLearn’s U.S. partner universities already offer MOOCs, and some of their first courses on FutureLearn will be ones that previously appeared on platforms such as Coursera and edX. “Double-dipping” by working with multiple MOOC providers is not uncommon — especially at larger universities that have a large portfolio of online education offerings.

In interviews with Inside Higher Ed, administrators at those universities said they viewed the partnership as another way to stay up-to-date in the MOOC market.


FutureLearn last year added MOOCs that award credit and, in December, announced it would offer full certificate and graduate degree programs from Deakin University in Australia. None of the MOOCs created by U.S. universities will have a for-credit option, though Nelson said he would be “surprised if it’s not a direction of travel in the near future.”

Some of the universities also said they are open to the idea of offering credit through MOOCs in the near future.

“If you want to have a diverse student audience and diverse engagement of academic partners and professionals, this is an excellent way to do it,” Pollack said.

By Carl Straumsheim

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