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Monash unveils first online FutureLearn courses

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Monash University has announced its first massive open online courses (MOOC) to be launched this year by partner FutureLearn, the UK-led MOOC provider.

The University’s first two MOOCs will teach computer programming for creative design, and the science behind medicines used to treat major health issues such as heart disease, depression, diabetes and pain control. ‘Creative Coding’ and ‘The Science of Medicines’ will launch on FutureLearn, the free, online social learning platform.

‘Creative Coding’ and ‘The Science of Medicines’ will incorporate FutureLearn’s strong storytelling elements, guiding learners through a compelling narrative made up of videos, articles, real life case studies and other rich media elements.

‘Creative Coding’ will begin on 2 June and ‘The Science of Medicines’ on 1 September 2014.

The new titles bring to 46 the number of free online courses added to FutureLearn since its launch in September 2013, and builds on the website’s growing portfolio of Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM) and Art & Design offerings.

Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn, said, “Our partnership with Monash University gives learners around the world access to some of the highest quality teaching from a truly global educator. The new courses will be a valuable addition to the FutureLearn portfolio, providing vital, practical knowledge to improve their lives and careers.

“At FutureLearn, we want to support our partners – both in the UK and internationally – to become world-leading digital practitioners. The two courses from Monash University promise to be really enjoyable learning experiences, combining topical subjects with a strong compelling narrative, for our growing community of learners.”

Monash University Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) Professor Darrell Evans said the expansion of the University’s course offerings provided exciting new educational opportunities for students.

“We are very excited about our partnership with FutureLearn. With its focus on student engagement and social learning, we see FutureLearn as the perfect fit for Monash MOOCs. This is an opportunity to make Monash courses open to the broadest audience, further enhancing our international reach,” Professor Evans said.

Professor Evans said the courses not only reflect important strengths of the University, but were well-suited to the MOOC format.

“The Creative Coding course is truly multidisciplinary, cutting across information technology and art and design. Being a course that will encourage creativity, we see the FutureLearn platform as the ideal way to facilitate a vibrant exchange of ideas amongst students from the broadest mix of geographical and cultural backgrounds,” Professor Evans said.

“The Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is a world leader in research and education, and so was a natural choice to develop one of our first MOOCs. “The Science of Medicine” course will showcase the innovative ways the Faculty presents pharmacology but will do so in a way of immediate practical value to the students taking the course.”

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