Online Course Provision Grows As Three University of London Colleges Sign Up To Digital Partnership

Posted by: Shannon Greenhalgh

he move to online course provision by UK universities is under way, as three University of London colleges, including Goldsmiths, enter a partnership that will enable their students to participate in massive open online courses (MOOCs), Government Computing has reported.

The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and St George’s, alongside Goldsmiths, have announced an agreement to offer MOOCs through the FutureLearn platform – joining a network of 51 other higher and specialist education institutions globally which are using the service to offer courses online.

The internet-based teaching programmes provide traditional course materials such as filmed lectures and readings online, along with interactive forums to enable student discussions.

FutureLearn (owned by the Open University) has already been adopted by other universities in the UK, with industry experts predicting that MOOCs will play a “complementary” role in higher education.

Professor Elisabeth Hill, FutureLearn project lead at Goldsmiths, said the university is in the early stages of planning how the platform will be used to deliver services. The venture will create opportunities for the university to enter new markets and develop the Goldsmiths brand internationally. MOOCs are an important platform for showcasing cutting-edge research and teaching, she added.

Lobby group Universities UK says that flexible learning such as lecture capture technologies will play more of a “complementary role in supporting blended learning”.

The emergence of flexible learning is being decided at an individual institution level, as opposed to an industry-wide shift, said the group. It will not replace bricks-and-mortar provision of higher education, but will allow students to overcome geographical boundaries.

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