This page contains answers to some of the questions you may have if you are considering using online courses as part of your teaching. The list will be continuously updated as we receive your feedback, so please check back. If you cannot find an answer to your question, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are several ways you can use one of the free online courses within your teaching. Whether you choose to complete the course as a class or as individuals, or whether you choose to use individual resources, is up to you and your needs. Visit the Teaching remotely page to find out more.
The courses are automatically open access. If you would like to organise a closed session of one of the courses, please contact email@example.com.
We adhere to recommended guidelines for supporting those with additional needs. All the free online courses provide subtitles and transcripts for the hearing impaired. We also ensure that all images are screen-reader friendly.
The University of Leeds has created a program of free online courses about blended learning that you can benefit from as an educator. The program is called ‘Blended Learning Essentials’.
If you want to help your students learn how to learn online, you can get them to work through the ‘Learning Online’ series of courses.
Each 2-week course is designed to be completed within 2 hours per week, but there are many ways you can use online courses in your teaching so you can set your own expectations with your students.
We’ve designed the courses for those aged 16-18 years, but you don’t have to be a particular age to enjoy them. They can easily be used with younger students or with adults. The courses provide an introduction to a range of topics but your students can also find out how to learn online by working through the ‘Learning Online’ series of courses.
From the day you sign up to a course, you have four weeks of access – that’s two weeks additional to the length of the course. However, you and your students can enjoy unlimited access if you pay to Upgrade. If you choose to download any of the resources provided within a course, you have access to those permanently.
At the moment and until September 2020, FutureLearn organised an initiative that allows student aged 13+ in the UK and Ireland to have free upgraded access to more than 100 courses including, the Going to University courses. FutureLearn Schools also provides free resources to teachers. To find out which other courses are included and for more details check the FutureLearn Schools page.
All the online courses are free, with the option to pay for an Upgrade which allows you or your students to have unlimited access.
Yes, you can download resources from the online courses, including videos, transcripts, exercises and glossaries.
Yes, we’ve provided resource sheets to help you make the most of the free online courses. To find out more, go to the ‘Teaching remotely’ page.
As these courses can be completed by students at different speeds based on their abilities, they are already more flexible than some other forms of teaching. There are many ways you can use the online courses and you could set different tasks based on them for different students.
The FutureLearn platform is an open online learning environment and is accessed by people across the globe. Anyone can register and access a course, so your students may be learning with a range of people from different age groups, countries and cultures.
FutureLearn has guidelines specifically aimed at young people using its site, covering key guidance on how to use the Comment sections within courses safely and responsibly, and how to report anything they find concerning. We would recommend that you instruct your students to read these guidelines before starting.
FutureLearn also has its own terms and conditions as a third-party site (covering typical areas such as copyright and data security), alongside other policies for key areas such as accessibility and privacy etc. Therefore, if you make online FutureLearn courses a required part of your own curriculum (that all students must study) then, as a school, you are taking on the responsibility to ensure that the FutureLearn terms and conditions are met. Should any of your students break these terms and conditions, FutureLearn has the right to require the school to deal directly with any issue, and this could potentially have repercussions for the school.
An alternative approach is to use the courses on FutureLearn as additional or extended learning. The pupils or students then sign-up to FutureLearn as an individual and they accept the terms and conditions set out by FutureLearn, rather than the school. You may wish to guide your students through the terms and conditions as they sign-up to FutureLearn for the first time as a good digital literacy practice.
FutureLearn courses are open to the public, therefore anyone can use them. This gives your students the opportunity to learn from people all over the world but may raise concerns regarding safeguarding.
The UKCCIS has more information about your school or college’s responsibilities with online safety.
Each platform for an online course has its own terms and conditions for use, as well as different functionality which will affect how secure the environment is for your students.
The ‘Going to University’ courses are designed on FutureLearn so that all learning and communication are transparent and you, as a teacher, can see the activities of your students. There are no exercises, assessments or forums that offer the opportunity for pupils or others to initiate one-to-one communications with other people on the platform.
University of Leeds courses are also monitored by University staff who will respond to any inappropriate behaviour in the courses and they will also react to any requests for investigations from teachers.
However, you do need to be cautious that some courses on FutureLearn encourage learners to discuss the topics on other social media platforms, such as Twitter, and these are not monitored by FutureLearn. The University of Leeds monitors the ‘Going to University’ courses on FutureLearn and all social media channels linked to them to support students.
The ‘Going to University courses’ have been designed by the Digital Education Service at the University of Leeds. This team of experienced educators, technologists and production and creative officers work alongside lecturers and subject matter experts from the University to create tailored courses that teachers, students and others can benefit from.
On some courses, academics or lead educators read and respond to comments posted within the course, however, this is not common practice at the moment. You will be able to see if an academic is interacting with learners, as their name on any comments will be tagged with the phrase ‘Lead Educator’,
Courses run in iterations throughout the year. New courses are released regularly, depending on the development time, cost and availability of academics and subject matter experts. We aim to release new courses at least three-four times a year.