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The Open University’s social learning platform FutureLearn has launched its first Massive open online courses (MOOCs) that will give students the possibility to earn up to 30 academic credits towards a degree or professional accreditation. 13 programmes by nine higher education institutions from the UK and Australia took off in end-May. The programmes are in the areas of Business, Finance, and Health, to name a few. The offer also includes courses for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) run by St George’s (University of London), the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), and the British Council.
The students who take up the courses will be able to follow them for free, but in order to be awarded academic credits, they will need to buy the certificate of achievement for each module and pass the final exam for recognised programmes. According to the information on the FutureLearn platform, the eligibility for the Certificate of Achievement implies 90% completion of the course, every test question in the course attempted and an average score over 70% across the tests.
For the world of online learning, this is an important step towards recognition and a balance between quality and flexibility. Although the opportunity to attend courses developed by some of the leading UK universities without additional costs may be an excellent opportunity, the proclaimed openness of MOOCs can once more be questioned for the combination of free courses and certificates and final exams which count in hundreds of pounds.FutureLearn – press release The Open University