November 20, 2013, by Steve Stapleton

The University of Nottingham on FutureLearn

wind farm and family for sustainability, society and youThe University of Nottingham will offer free courses online as part of the FutureLearn initiative. FutureLearn is the first UK-led, multi-institutional Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) platform. The Futurelearn proposition is to increase access to Higher Education for students in the UK and around the world by offering a diverse range of high quality courses through a single website.

The official press launch was on the 18th September which included Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University (FutureLearn is owned by the OU), Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn and Universities and Science Minister David Willetts talking about the potential FutureLearn has to revolutionise conventional models of formal education.

Social interaction is central to the FutureLearn experience, enabling people to learn actively by engaging in conversations around the learning material, or vicariously, by following discussions. FutureLearn has also been designed to work on smartphones, tablets and desktop computers, so that learners can enjoy the same high-quality user experience, regardless of the screen size.ESD flyer for blog

The first course that Nottingham will run on FutureLearn is Sustainability, Society and You. It will run from the 6th January 2014 but you can register for the course now.  The course will develop your understanding of the values and principles associated with sustainability and will equip you with some of the knowledge required to make sustainable decisions in your personal and professional life. The course is led by Dr Sarah Speight, The University of Nottingham’s academic lead on sustainability. It features contributions from academics across a variety of disciplines, supported by expert facilitators.

The course has been put together using material generated by Nottingham, in combination with material from third-party ‘Creative Commons’ licenced sources. This supports the university’s long-standing commitment to re-use and publish Open Educational Resources (OER) under its Open Nottingham banner. The Nottingham content within the course and the course structure will also be made openly available under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Creative Commons Licence. In addition to the University of Nottingham content, the many third party resources that are used will also be made available under a variety of ‘Creative Commons’ licences. Where third party non-commercial ‘Creative Commons’ resources have been included, we have contacted the owners to confirm that they are happy with their material appearing in commercial MOOC platforms like FutureLearn.

The Sustainability, Society and You course has also been delivered in a similar format to Nottingham staff and students only. This Nottingham Open On-line Course (NOOC) entitled ‘Perspectives on Sustainability’ was first delivered in early 2013. It ran for 10 weeks with over 800 people registering of which 13% were staff and 49% were students from our campus in China. ‘Perspectives on Sustainability’ was delivered through Moodle and provided a platform for our global community of students to join in a shared learning experience. It also enabled staff to engage as e-learners which may help inform practice as e-teachers. The NOOC will run again in October 2013 for staff and students at the University, with 150 people registered already.

If you are interested in the topic of sustainability and can’t wait until January, then you could download some of our free eBooks to help you read around the topic.

For a full list of courses available on FutureLearn you can visit




Posted in FuturelearnMOOCSustainability