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University of Reading to announce first free online course in September – University of Reading

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University of Reading to announce first free online course in September

Release Date 14 August 2013

The University of Reading can reveal that its first massive open online course (MOOC) will be offered by computer scientists from its renowned School of Systems Engineering.

The name of the course will be announced in September when FutureLearn, the first UK-led provider of MOOCs, unveils its first set of courses. Reading is one of 26 leading UK and international universities and cultural institutions which together will provide MOOCs as part of FutureLearn.

The University of Reading's first MOOC will feature in FutureLearn's ‘Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths' section. Although enrolment won't begin until the announcement in September, interested learners can jump to the front of the queue by registering at

Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: "We are extremely excited by the prospect of launching our first MOOC. Students from around the world will have access to high-quality, research-led teaching and develop the very latest technological skills needed in a digital world."

FutureLearn will use its September launch event to kick off its open beta phase and begin registration for a selection of free courses available from its partner universities, across multiple platforms. Learners will be able to sign up for a selection of the named courses, which includes Literature, Computing & IT, Environment & Sustainability and Marketing to name a few, with their feedback used to inform the ongoing development of the website.

Members of FutureLearn's mailing list will be given first opportunity to enrol in the open beta phase, as some course numbers may initially be limited during the early testing period. The website currently has potential learners registered from over 150 countries, with more signing up daily at

Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn said, "We're looking forward to introducing FutureLearn to learners around the world. Our partners have developed a wonderful range of high quality courses to launch the service and I have no doubt that our learners will find the content compelling. During the open beta period, we will be listening closely to the feedback from our users and using that to tailor FutureLearn into a uniquely engaging learning experience. Now is the time to sign up to the website to hear more about the product and courses being developed."

The University of Reading is ranked in the top 1% of world universities¹ and is a research -intensive institution with an international reputation in areas such as food, health, food security, sustainable environments and climate science.

Reading students consistently rate the quality of their teaching very highly, with the institution receiving an 89% 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 institution since its origins 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


Notes to editors:

About the University of Reading

  • ¹THE 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.

About FutureLearn: is the first UK-led multi-institutional provider of free, open, online higher education

courses. It will offer courses for people to access and enjoy wherever they are in the world on multiple devices. Courses will be created by the Universities of Bath, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Anglia, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Leicester, Loughborough, Kings College London, Lancaster, Leeds, Monash, Nottingham, The Open University, Queen's Belfast, Reading, Sheffield, Southampton, Strathclyde, Trinity College Dublin and Warwick. In addition, the British Council, British Library and the British Museum have all agreed to partner with FutureLearn to share content and their expertise and collaborate in the development of courses through

For further details, please contact: / 020 3047 2258


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