By Chris Parr
Massive open online courses will be one of the most important tools for recruiting overseas students over the next five years, a conference has heard
Speaking at the Jisc Digital Festival in Birmingham, Simon Nelson, chief executive of the UK Mooc platform FutureLearn, said that there was far more to the free online courses than teaching and learning alone.
He said that Moocs would “become one of the most important recruitment grounds…particularly for international students”, adding that their university partners were discovering that offering free online content was “not just about courses” but also about making institutions “more discoverable” online.
In a pilot beginning tomorrow, FutureLearn will be making some units from its courses available openly online. Currently, content is free but users must register in order to view it.
The “Open Step Pages” pilot will see some content removed from behind this registration wall. Units from a University of Warwick course on psychology, a King’s College London course on drugs and addiction, and a University of Sheffield Mooc on interview techniques will be made open as part of the programme.
Mr Nelson said the move would “increase the digital footprint of our university partners”.
FutureLearn, which is owned by the Open University, registered its 1 millionth user earlier this year. They hail from 190 different countries, and have generated more than 2.3 million course sign-ups between them.
“FutureLearn is a commercial subsidiary of the British Open University, and our aim is to repay the investment the OU has put in and then return a profit,” Mr Nelson told delegates, although he did not put a timescale on this.
[ Full article available at Times Higher Education: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/moocs-could-be-major-recruitment-tool-says-futurelearn-head/2018969.article ]