Open University launches British Mooc platform to rival US providers
A UK-based platform for massive open online courses (Moocs) to rival established providers in the US has been launched by The Open University. Futurelearn will carry courses from 12 UK institutions (see list), which will be available to students across the world free of charge. It will follow in the footsteps of US providers including Coursera, edX and Udacity, which offer around 230 Moocs from around 40 mostly US-based institutions to more than 3 million students. The new platform will operate as an independent company, majority owned by The Open University, although details of other investors have yet to be confirmed. Simon Nelson, a key player in the development of BBC's online offerings, including the iPlayer, has been recruited to head up the new company. "There has been rapid and widespread growth in open online courses but until now UK universities have only had the option of working with US-based platforms," Mr Nelson said. The project has also been welcomed by government.