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A surprising year for success


Online courses from the University of Leeds have dominated this year’s Class Central rankings, demonstrating once again that Leeds is a world-leading institution for digital education! 

2020 was a year of upheaval but, despite everything, digital learning flourished. Many people turned to online courses as they sought ways to stay busy, enhance their skills, and discover new thingsIn fact, of all the learners that have ever registered on a MOOC platform, one third did so in 2020. 

Best online course of the year 

'Food Science and Nutrition: From the Farm to You' has made a particularly big impressionfeaturing in Class Central’s list of Best Online Courses of the YearThis list is based on thousands of reviews from Class Central’s users and highlights 30 high ranking courses out of the 2,800 launched in 2020. 

'Food Science and Nutrition: From the Farm to You' is a 5-star course developed by the Digital Education Service with academics from the School of Food Science and Nutrition. The course supports high school students to explore the fascinating world of food and discover what it’s like to study Food Science and Nutrition at university level. Try Food Science and Nutrition: From the Farm to You on FutureLearn. 

The University of Leeds is the only university from the UK to appear on Class Central’s list, standing out among prestigious names such as Yale University and The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. 

It’s no surprise that the notable course should come from the School of Food Science and Nutrition, as Leeds ranks 1st in the UK for Food Science in The Complete University Guide. 

Top of the class for online courses 

Not only has the University of Leeds delivered some of the best online courses, but also the most popular. Our courses appear on Class Central’s 100 Most Popular Free Online Courses no less than 3 times. The featured courses include: 

Computer Programming for Everyone  

Learn to Code for the Web  

Creating a Great User Experience for Mobile Apps 

The Class Central rankings were created using enrolment figures from the new online courses that were launched in 2020To have 3 courses on this list is a fantastic achievement for the University.  

The courses in question form part of collection developed in partnership with the Institute of Coding, called Digital Skills for the Workplace. The collection covers a range of topics such as coding for the web and social media marketingand it proved itself to be a vital resource during a year that has forced many to learn and work remotely. 

During the Spring of 2020, the Department for Education added courses from this collection to The Skills Toolkit platform, which was designed to help people learn digital skills from home. With almost 1 million enrolments in 2020 and an overall satisfaction rating of 96%it’s clear that the collection has been a major success. 

Try the Digital Skills for the Workplace collection on FutureLean. 

great digital year 

It’s been 9 years since The New York Times declared 2012 ‘The Year of the MOOC’, but there’s no doubt that 2020 was just as consequential for online learning.  

According to Class Central’s report, the top three MOOC providers (Coursera, edX, and FutureLearn) registered as many new users in April 2020 as in the whole of 2019. Overall, around 25-30% of the total registered users on these platforms signed up in 2020. 

Following one of the most significant years for online learning of all time, it’s great to see the University of Leeds receiving well-deserved recognition for the exceptional provision of digital teaching and learning tools. 

Looking forward, the Digital Education Service team is committed to supporting even more learners as they develop their skills and collaborate with a global, digital classroom.  

With digital education at the fore, could 2021 be the new year of the MOOC?