The programme announced today is an extension of the work the university already does in “MOOCs” ( massively open online courses).
Leeds is working with FutureLearn, an education website owned by the Open University, to launch a new type of online course which will allow people to earn academic course credits towards a degree.
People taking part will have live video link sessions with academics to help them.
The university’s director of digital learning Professor Neil Morris said: “We are making extensive use of the platform to offer higher education to anyone with access to the internet and to extend the learning opportunities for our campus-based students.”
MOOCS are available to anyone but up until now have not led to a higher education qualification. The new scheme will see learners who complete five short courses for free then have the chance to apply to do a final assessment course. This costs just over £500 and contributes ten credits towards a degree at the university. Prof Morris said: “We think there will be a number of different audiences interested in this not least A-level students who are looking to go to university”. He said completing short online university courses in a subject they are interested in could help to set them apart and secure a place at university. Students who have already earned credits through this online route will have a reduction in tuition fees when they apply.
The university’s vice chancellor Sir Alan Langlands said: “We are very proud to be the first Russell Group University to launch a credit bearing online course on the FutureLearn platform.
“It signifies our on-going commitment to widen access to higher education, desire to offer flexible and inclusive education and showcases our excellence in research-based learning.”
Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, Peter Horrocks, said: “This innovative offer of credit is a clear demonstration of the disruptive potential of MOOCs in offering more efficient, competitive and learner-focused study options. It is a modern illustration of the OU’s historic mission to extend quality education to the greatest number of people possible. The OU is deeply proud of FutureLearn, the world’s leading social learning platform, and a fantastic advert for UK higher education.”
The initial Programs are open for student enrolment from today. A full list of courses can be found on the FutureLearn website.