Future Learn, one of the main providers of Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is launching courses that will allow students to earn University credits which they can put towards a degree. The courses will be free as they always have been, but there will be a small fee to graduate and gain the credits. The main benefit of this development is that it will allow students to try courses before making a financial commitment to a full degree.
This development comes as traditional University courses, now with higher fees than ever, are under increasing scrutiny from students over value for money. Meanwhile, free and open courses like MOOCs are growing in popularity, with Future Learn gaining 3.7 million students since 2012.
The University of Leeds is one of the first institutions to offer MOOC courses with credits. Sir Alan Langlands, Leeds’ vice-chancellor has said he sees it as a 'valuable recruitment tool for campus-based courses'.
For Sir Alan, it's about thinking ahead to the demands of the next generation of learners. He said that teaching and learning will need to be high quality as well as flexible to meet the demands of young people:
“We are very conscious of the fact that, when we start recruiting next for students for 2018, many of them will have been born after the year 2000”
This multi-platform, cross partnership project is indicative of how Universities are adapting to survive in a demanding climate. With the next generation of students born this side of the millennium, I think we'll see more Universities offering digital and online resources to meet the expectations of these younger students and the traditional three-year residential degree course may become a thing of the past.
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