A new UK online university project called Futurelearn has launched in beta today and is taking applications for a mobile game programming course.
Owned by The Open University, the scheme is a collaboration by educational institutions across the country to bring free-to-study courses to the internet. These can then be studied and graded online.
Students can access their courses through their smartphones, tablets and PCs.
One of the first 20 courses coming to the site comes from the University of Reading called “Begin programming: Build your first mobile game”. Those who study the subject will be taught the basics of Java programming through developing a simple game for smartphones or tablets.
The course will feature video introductions, on-screen examples, articles and discussions on the principles behind programming, and weekly exercises on development. The course beings on October 28th and will last for seven weeks, at three hours a day, and is said to be suitable for complete beginners or people with basic programming skills.
More courses are expected to be added to the site during the coming months.
“We wanted to make FutureLearn a fresh, different and enjoyable user experience,” said FutureLearn CEO Simon Nelson.
“We have designed the website in line with principles of effective learning, such as storytelling, discussions and celebrating progress. We decided to go live with FutureLearn now, in an open testing phase, so that we can remain responsive to learners as we continue to develop the website.”
The Open University vice-chancellor Martin Bean added: “Time and again we have seen the disruptive impact the internet can have on industries – driving innovation and enhancing the customer experience. I have no doubt MOOCs will do the same for education – offering people new and exciting ways to learn.
“This is why we took the initiative to join forces with a range of university and cultural partners to create FutureLearn - spearheading the UK’s response to the rise of MOOCs and offering students a new and innovative way to access courses. It is so exciting to see the first of these going live and I can’t wait to see the range on offer expand over the coming months.”
As part of the site’s offerings, users can build learner profiles, through which FutureLearn hopes to build up a social network to help encourage community learning.
Course providers will also have access to analytics to see how students are learning, and then react accordingly.
Visit the official website for more information.