Press Releases Press Releases


UEA online learners set to surpass campus graduate numbers

Continuing to expand the University of East Anglia’s offering of MOOCs (massive open online courses), its School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing launches a new course on 29 February: An Introduction to Screenwriting.

The course has already received more than 26,000 sign-ups, with numbers increasing by several hundred each day. This will push the number of UEA’s active MOOC learners to over 120,000 –more learners in the two and a half years since launch than UEA has had campus-based graduates over 52 years.

This free online course in screenwriting, in partnership with Creative Skillset, will feature an introduction from UEA’s Professor of Creative Writing, Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland, with support from other educators and recent alumni from university’s renowned Creative Writing programme.

Also forthcoming is UEA’s latest science-focused MOOC. A partnership with the Biochemical Society, the course will be one of the first to involve a collaboration between higher-education and a society on the FutureLearn platform. The course is set to launch in June and will be aimed at younger learners from 15-19 years old.

More than 220,000 learners have signed up to UEA’s MOOCs since the launch of its first course in October 2013. This places UEA in the top three course providers of the host platform, FutureLearn. In turn FutureLearn is one of the top three MOOC platforms in the world with over three million registered users, alongside giants Coursera and EdX.

Helena Gillespie, Academic Director for Learning and Teaching Enhancement at UEA, says: “The biggest success with UEA’s MOOCs is how they offer high-quality learning in a digital space, en masse, without compromising on first-class student experience. Our MOOCs show the flexibility of learning and that UEA is able to successfully develop new teaching methods to meet the demands of the online-age.”

UEA and FutureLearn’s shared vision for supporting a digital, network-based higher education is showcased by their success in developing these new teaching tools. With such large numbers of sign-ups for UEA’s screenwriting course the latest challenge will be how to manage and respond to the vast number of learners using the online forums. With less than three weeks until the course starts it has already received over 3,000 users engaging in the forums, purely to introduce themselves to one-another.

MOOCs allow for collaboration between the institution and provider, with FutureLearn also giving the opportunity for partnership with industry leaders. UEA has launched the most MOOCs in partnership with organisations commissioning UEA based on skills and expertise. The online courses complement aspects of campus-based courses run by the university’s various schools of study; a useful spring board linking up the university and its students with organisations worldwide including Wolf Olins, Creative Skillset, BT and the forthcoming course partnering the Biochemical Society.

A preview of ‘An Introduction to Screenwriting’ can be viewed here.




Explore UEA's free online courses