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University of Reading to provide free, open online courses through Futurelearn, announces Prime Minister – University of Reading

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University of Reading to provide free, open online courses through Futurelearn, announces Prime Minister

Release Date 18 February 2013

The University of Reading is one of 17 top UK universities1 which together will provide free online courses as part of Futurelearn, the UK's Prime Minster, David Cameron announced today during his trade mission to India.

Futurelearn is a major new education initiative designed to ensure the UK plays a leading role in meeting the expanding global demand for higher education. Launched by the Open University, it will bring together a coherent online programme of free courses from the partner institutions, which will be accessible to prospective students wherever they live, directly through their computers and mobile devices.

Professor Gavin Brooks discusses MOOCs and Futurelearn

The Prime Minister, David Cameron said: "Britain boasts some of the best universities in the world. This innovative new offer led by The Open University will mean that Indian students can access some of the best teaching and learning online from their home in Mumbai or Delhi. I'm delighted that Futurelearn is expanding to include more British universities and the British Library. I hope it will encourage many more Indian students to take the next step and study with a UK university."

Futurelearn was launched in December 2012. It is an online platform that will make courses from the UK's best universities online for free. It will establish the UK as a global leader in online higher education, offering world-ranking UK university courses to students throughout the world. The first Futurelearn courses will be open to students in the second half of 2013.

Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: "We are excited by the prospect of harnessing the very latest technology to provide a world-wide audience with opportunities to access high-quality, research-led teaching.

"Futurelearn will build on our existing technology enhanced learning activities and will be an on-line addition to the global reach of many of our other projects, including our new campus development in Malaysia. We hope it will also provide a window into the latest thinking of University of Reading academics working in areas of international significance, such as climate science, nutrition and food security."

The University of Reading is ranked in the top 1% of world universities2 and is a research -intensive institution with an international reputation in areas such as food, health, food security, sustainable environments and climate science. The University was recently one of only 12 UK institutions to be awarded a Regius Professorship by Her Majesty The Queen in recognition of its outstanding quality of teaching and research in weather and climate science.

Reading students consistently rate the quality of their teaching very highly, with the institution receiving an 88% satisfaction rating in the most recent National Student Survey. The University currently boasts six National Teaching Fellows.

The University of Reading has been an international university since it was founded in 1892. The University received its first international student in 1904 and currently has over 5000 international students studying at campuses in Reading, South Africa and Hong Kong and through distance learning programmes.


Further information from University of Reading Press Office on +44 (0) 118 378 7391/7115 or

Notes to editors:

  • 117 universities plus The British Library: Bath, Reading, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Anglia, Exeter, King's College London, Lancaster, Leicester, Leeds, Nottingham, Open University , Queen's Belfast, Reading, Southampton, St Andrews, Warwick

About the University of Reading

  • 2THE World University Rankings 2012
  • The University of Reading is one of the UK's top research-intensive universities. The University is ranked in the top 20 for the number of awards it received from research councils for 2010/11.
  • In the RAE 2008, over 87% of the university's research was deemed to be of international standing. Areas of particular research strength recognised include meteorology and climate change, typography and graphic design, archaeology, philosophy, food biosciences, construction management, real estate and planning, as well as law.
  • Standards of teaching are excellent - the University scored highly in the National Student Survey 2012. 88% of Reading students responding to the survey stated they were satisfied with the quality of their course.

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