(SU) will present its first free and open online course (also known as a MOOC –
Massive Open Online Course) in 2016. An announcement of a partnership
with FutureLearn, one of the world’s foremost social
learning platforms, was made at the 26thInternational Council
for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) World Conference at Sun City, yesterday (13
The 4 week course, around the theme
of the African
Philosophy of Education, is expected to go live in early 2016. Conversations will be sparked
by short pre-recorded videos, articles, activities, course readings and
assessments which make up the course. The course will also be characterised by FutureLearn’s distinctive
approach to learning through conversation, with learners around the world able
to interact with each other and the experts leading the course.
“After careful planning and
deliberation over the past few years, a partnership agreement was established
that will allow centres of research excellence within the University, that are
renowned for a particular specialisation, to present courses on FutureLearn,”
says Dr Antoinette van der Merwe, Senior Director: Learning and Teaching
Enhancement at SU.
“The partnership with FutureLearn
will strengthen SU’s standing as a world renowned research institution and will
afford the University the opportunity to enhance teaching and learning
initiatives by sharing courses on a world-wide platform and expand its
footprint internationally by offering a free MOOC that will be accessible to
FutureLearn, the first UK-based platform
for MOOCs, has over 2 million registered users from 190 countries with five
million course registrations between them. SU joins a partnership of almost 80
of the world’s leading universities and specialist education providers offering
free online courses of the highest quality across a range of subject areas.
Simon Nelson, Chief Executive of
FutureLearn said: “I am delighted to welcome Stellenbosch University as the
latest African institution to join the FutureLearn partnership. It’s my hope
that FutureLearn can provide a valuable conduit for SU’s world-leading research
to reach a global community of learners online.”
SU’s Division for Learning and
Teaching Enhancement, which was tasked with overseeing the University’s
introduction into the MOOC arena, is working closely with distinguished
professor Yusef Waghid of the Faculty of Education in the development of this
first free and open online course – targeted at all individuals but that may
appeal in particular to individuals wishing to enhance their own professional
development in all spectrums of education.
“Barring a few exceptions, Massive
Open Online courses produced in Africa concerning African perspectives have
been minimal. To this end, Professor Waghid hopes to accentuate the African
voice on this international platform, through a course themed in the field of
African philosophy of education that will further amplify the African
voice,” explains Van der Merwe.
Says Prof Waghid: “African philosophy
of education is often wrongly perceived along the lines of ‘I am therefore we
are’. We are interested in extending this maxim towards: ‘I am, therefore we
are and because we are therefore I am and I can’ – a view of education that
emphasises both community and individual autonomy in pedagogical
FutureLearn is a social learning platform based in the UK and providing free, online courses from the world's leading educators. The partnership consists of UK and international universities, alongside specialist education institutions and centres of research excellence from around the world. All these offer high quality courses to anyone with an internet connection, anywhere in the world.
The FutureLearn course experience centres on social interaction, whereby people learn by engaging in conversations around the learning material. FutureLearn is wholly owned by The Open University (UK), which has over 40 years of expertise in distance and online learning. For more information, visit www.futurelearn.com.