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​SU announces first MOOC
Author: Korporatiewe Bemarking / Corporate Marketing
Published: 14/10/2015

Stellenbosch University (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 October).  

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 all.”

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 encounters.” 

About FutureLearn

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