The British Council announces its first free online course on FutureLearn
From autumn this year, learners from all over the globe will be able to interact with each other while developing their English vocabulary, and reading and writing skills.
Miami: 30 April 2014 The British Council will offer its first free online course for learning English on FutureLearn, the global social learning platform, later this year. It also will be the first online course on FutureLearn from one of its cultural partners.
With 80 years’ experience in teaching the English language around the world, the British Council has developed the course for non-native speakers with intermediate levels of English language proficiency. It will include learning about British culture and traditions to enable learners to gain a better understanding of life in the UK.
The announcement was made at ‘Going Global’, the British Council’s annual conference for leaders of international education, held this year in Miami April 29-May 1. The news came ahead of a passionate debate at the conference on the future potential of free online learning, otherwise known as massive open online courses, or MOOCs. Experts including the CEO of FutureLearn, Simon Nelson, the CEO of Coursera, Daphne Koller, and Adam Habib, Vice Chancellor of the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa discussed whether free online learning courses create opportunities to widen access to education or not.
Commenting on the announcement of the new course, Anna Searle, the British Council’s Director of English, said “We are delighted to be working with FutureLearn to develop a new and innovative approach to English language learning, combining social learning tools with the British Council’s capability to design and deliver high quality English language courses. We have a strong reputation for providing outstanding opportunities to learn English, through face to face courses, working with ministries, and access to online language development. I am excited by the potential of this partnership which will enable us to reach new audiences globally and equip FutureLearn learners with the skills and confidence in writing and reading in English using the FutureLearn social learning platform”
Simon Nelson, the CEO of FutureLearn, said “I’m excited that FutureLearn will offer its first course delivered by one its cultural partners. With its long history of teaching the English language to non-native speakers, the British Council is a natural choice to deliver this course. People will be able to access the learning for free, and what’s more, they will be able to learn English and about British culture by interacting with other learners from all over the world.”