Wednesday, February 20, 2013

University of Reading to provide free, open online courses through Futurelearn

The University of Reading is one of 17 top UK universities¹ which together will provide free online courses as part of Futurelearn, the UK’s Prime Minster, David Cameron announced today during his trade mission to India.

The news comes as University of Reading Vice-Chancellor, Sir David Bell, prepares to travel to Malaysia for the ground-breaking ceremony on the site of the new University of Reading Malaysia campus, part of EduCity Iskandar Malaysia in Johor Bahru.

Futurelearn is major new education initiative designed to ensure the UK plays a leading role in meeting the expanding global demand for higher education. Launched by the Open University, it will bring together a coherent online programme of free courses from the partner institutions, which will be accessible to prospective students wherever they live, directly through their computers and mobile devices.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron said:  "Britain boasts some of the best universities in the world. This innovative new offer led by The Open University will mean that Indian students can access some of the best teaching and learning online from their home in Mumbai or Delhi. I'm delighted that Futurelearn is expanding to include more British universities and the British Library. I hope it will encourage many more Indian students to take the next step and study with a UK university."

Futurelearn was launched in December 2012. It is an online platform that will make courses from the UK’s best universities online for free. It will establish the UK as a global leader in online higher education, offering world-ranking UK university courses to students throughout the world. The first Futurelearn courses will be open to students in the second half of 2013.

Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: “We are excited by the prospect of harnessing the very latest technology to provide a world-wide audience with opportunities to access high-quality, research-led teaching.

“Futurelearn will build on our existing technology enhanced learning activities and will be an on-line addition to the global reach of many of our other projects, including our new campus development in Malaysia. We hope it will also provide a window into the latest thinking of University of Reading academics working in areas of international significance, such as climate science, nutrition and food security.”

The University of Reading is ranked in the top 1% of world universities² and is a research –intensive institution with an international reputation in areas such as food, health, food security, sustainable environments and climate science. The University was recently one of only 12 UK institutions to be awarded a Regius Professorship by Her Majesty The Queen in recognition of its outstanding quality of teaching and research in weather and climate science.

Reading students consistently rate the quality of their teaching very highly, with the institution receiving an 88% satisfaction rating in the most recent National Student Survey. The University currently boasts six National Teaching Fellows.

The University of Reading has been an international university since it was founded in 1892.  The University received its first international student in 1904 and currently has over 5000 international students studying at campuses in Reading, South Africa and Hong Kong and through distance learning programmes.

More information at

 ¹17 universities plus The British Library: – Bath, Reading, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Anglia, Exeter, King’s College London, Lancaster, Leicester, Leeds, Nottingham, Open University , Queen’s Belfast, Reading,  Southampton, St Andrews, Warwick

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