FutureLearn and the University of Michigan’s Center for Academic Innovation are seeking proposals from faculty to create massive open online courses that provide real-world skill-building and social learning experiences.
Accepted proposals receive up to $10,000 in initial investment from FutureLearn for the development of the online course and up to a $25,000 stipend and in-kind development support from the center, and a share of any potential revenue the course generates.
The call for proposals is available on the center website. The submission deadline is Oct. 15. Decisions will be announced in early November, and accepted courses are expected to launch beginning in June 2021.
“At FutureLearn, our purpose is to transform access to education,” said Holly Shiflett, head of partnerships at FutureLearn. “Our platform is accessible to anyone in the world with access to the internet and used by millions of people all over the globe.
“Now, we’ve created our fund to help educators to develop courses that we know for which we know there is demand. We see this as incredibly important right now as more and more people will need to reskill or upskill themselves due to unemployment related to the pandemic and new types of role opportunities.
“We believe that online learning has an important part to play in keeping everyone educated during this time and we’re delighted to partner with the University of Michigan, who are experts in making engaging online courses, to help the educators who get involved in this opportunity.”
FutureLearn’s online courses emphasize social learning, storytelling and celebrating success through the achievement of small goals. While proposals are encouraged in any topic area, FutureLearn and U-M are particularly interested in potential courses on business and management, computer science, economics, health care, psychology and statistics. Proposals are also welcomed for series of courses in these areas.
Courses on FutureLearn are free to access, although learners interested in earning a certificate of achievement or taking assessments can upgrade their course selection for a fee. Proposed courses must offer at least four weeks of learning consisting of one to four hours of learning per week, and the course must be offered annually for at least three years.
FutureLearn’s emphasis on storytelling and the social aspects of learning make them great partners as U-M continues to expand its online learning opportunities, particularly in this time of social distancing, said Lauren Atkins Budde, director of open learning initiatives at the Center for Academic Innovation.
“The transition to online course delivery has increased interest in online learning from faculty. They are not satisfied with simply putting their typical courses online, they want to build supportive and engaged learning communities centered in research, academic excellence, and future career outcomes, and we’re excited to partner with our faculty partners and FutureLearn to make that happen,” Budde said.