FutureLearn and the British Council see India as a major market for MOOCs that teach English. Photo: Nic Walker
The UK-based FutureLearn will partner with the British Council, which already provides English language education, to pioneer MOOCs that teach the English language.
It is the first time that a major MOOC provider has announced plans to offer language courses. The two organisations said there would be a portfolio of English language courses ready in 2014 which would be focused on preparing students whose native language is not English for studying higher education courses taught in English.
The announcement was made in India, which FutureLearn and the British Council see as a major market for MOOCs that teach English. The two organisations said the MOOCs would also “provide a route for learners to take International English Language Testing System (IELTS) assessments at British Council testing centres”.
The British Council is a part-owner of the IELTS test, along with Australian company IDP Education, which operates a separate network of IELTS testing centres.
FutureLearn is owned by British education institution, The Open University, and has 29 partners which are mainly UK universities but also include the British Council and the British Museum.
Monash University is one of FutureLearn’s international partners.
The British Council is a non-profit organisation set up by Royal Charter to promote British culture and education internationally.
It is pitching English teaching MOOCs as a way of channelling international students to British universities.
“It is right that India should be one of the first places where we collectively launch the FutureLearn MOOC platform and courses,” said Martin Davidson, chief executive of the British Council. “FutureLearn will provide young Indians with another means of access to the UK’s world-class education institutions.”
In other news, the world’s leading MOOC provider, US-based Coursera, has raised $US20 million ($21.8 million) more than expected in its latest capital raising.
According to All Things D , Coursera’s $US43 million capital raising announced in July this year has expanded to $US63 million.
Three unnamed universities are responsible for most of the extra investment. Coursera has now totalled $US85 million in capital from investors.