posted by Natasha Lomas at TechCrunch.com on December 13, 2012
The dynamic online learning space is about to get a little more crowded, thanks to the arrival of another group of established learning institutions who are joining forces — or rather pooling resources — to get into the brave new world of MOOCs. What are MOOCs? The short answer is ‘massive open online courses’ — typically free, conducted online and open to anyone who wants to participate (for a more detailed discussion of MOOCs, read this and watch this). There are now enough of these MOOCs out there they even have their own listings/review startup service (called CourseTalk).
Today’s news means even more MOOCs will be offered next year, as 12 UK universities are getting together to form a new company that will offer the online courses — under the brand name of FutureLearn Ltd. The universities are: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Anglia, Exeter, King’s College London, Lancaster, Leeds, Southampton, St Andrews andWarwick, along with UK distance-learning organization The Open University (OU).
Several U.S. universities have already jumped aboard the MOOC mobile, including the likes of Harvard and MIT, and while FutureLearn’s partner universities are not the first UK universities to chase a slice of MOOC pie either — Edinburgh University, for example, joinedthe Coursera consortium in July — they appear to be the first such large group to set up a dedicated MOOC business located in the UK.