University to offer free online courses

The University of Auckland, New Zealand’s leading tertiary institution is to offer free online courses open to students around the world.

In the initiative announced this week, the University will partner with FutureLearn, a UK-based consortium founded by the Open University to develop and deliver Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

The University of Auckland brings the number of FutureLearn’s international partners to 29, comprising 26 leading universities from the UK, Republic of Ireland, Australia and now New Zealand, together with resource partners the British Museum, British Council and British Library.

The University will contribute courses to the FutureLearn platform and work with other partners in developing pedagogically-driven innovation in blended learning.

Professor John Morrow, University of Auckland Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) says the FutureLearn membership will provide the sole focus of the University’s engagement with MOOCS in the near future.

“As New Zealand’s highest internationally-ranked university we welcome this important global collaboration which will increase our reach and make our high-quality content and courses available to anyone worldwide.

“Our membership of the FutureLearn consortium provides exciting opportunities for collaboration with leading educational institutions committed to utilising learning technologies to enhance educational outcomes.”

FutureLearn CEO, Simon Nelson, says: “The University of Auckland adds real prestige to FutureLearn’s line-up of world-renowned partners, as New Zealand’s foremost university and a major presence within the international higher education rankings.

“This collaboration is also great news for learners globally as they will have access to an even broader selection of free, high-quality, online courses from some of the world’s best educators.”

The University’s first MOOCs will launch on FutureLearn in 2014.