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University of East Anglia to lead the way for massive open online courses in the UK

PUBLISHED: 12:11 18 September 2013 | UPDATED: 12:11 18 September 2013

Prof Neil Ward at the UEA. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Prof Neil Ward at the UEA. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Archant Norfolk

The University of East Anglia is pioneering free, open and online higher education courses as part of the first UK-led multi-institutional provider.

The UEA’s online brand leadership course will be the first to go live, following today’s launch of, which is made up of 23 universities, also including Bath, Edinburgh and Kings College London.

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are free online courses allowing large-scale, global participation, usually in short, topical modules. is the first UK-led multi-institutional provider, offering courses for people to access wherever they are on their unique platform, designed specifically with mobile devices in mind.

Called The Secret Power of Brands, the UEA’s course will be live from October 14, ahead of a further 20 or so courses from other FutureLearn partners over the following months.

The 10-week course has been developed by UEA’s Norwich Business School and is led by Prof Robert Jones, visiting professor and head of new thinking at global brand consultancy Wolff Olins.

Prof Neil Ward, UEA’s pro-vice-chancellor for academic affairs, said: “In the ever-changing higher education sector it is vital that we strive to be at the forefront of developments and can meet demand for new ways of learning.

“FutureLearn has provided UEA and its partner institutions with the opportunity to lead the way with UK-based MOOCs, offering our high-quality education through a new and exciting platform to an even wider audience, and I’m delighted we are the very first university to go live with our course.”

Helena Gillespie, associate dean for learning, teaching and quality (faculty of social sciences), said: “Higher education is changing fast; it is becoming more competitive and more global. UEA sees open online courses as a key part of the 21st century higher education experience, and we are delighted to be leading with The Secret Power of Brands.

“This is a truly global topic, and the value of the learning experience will come from the diversity of the participants. We are really harnessing the power of the open, online course.”

Further UEA courses are under construction, with the next expected to be unveiled over the next few months. Registrations for the first wave of courses will be limited for the beta phase.

Visit to sign up for access to the course lists and register for courses.


  • I have my reservations about online courses, I have done enough of these myself at work and feel it just doesn't replace the classroom environment. While it is convenient that courses can be accessed anywhere at any time, it just doesn't feel like learning to me. It also leaves room for people to just click their way through them quickly without truly absorbing the material. Also, anyone could sign up and have someone else do it for them, who knows. As I said, I've done enough of these at the office and the only thing I wanted to do was click my way through and find the "print certificate" button as quickly as possible.

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    Wednesday, September 18, 2013

  • I agree Shadowrun, I have also in my job, over the last year done several onlinedistance courses,I have passed the course, but have not retained information.This is dumbing down learning. If feel this is flat learning, You need classroom experience to put meat on to the bones

    Report this comment


    Thursday, September 19, 2013

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