Published on February 26, 2013 | by Myriah Towner

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British Library resources added to online course platform

British Library

The British Library is the first non-university research institution to join Futurelearn.
[Flickr: Steve Cadman]

The British Library is to offer its digital resources to the UK’s first free online course platform and in so doing becomes the first non-university research institution to join Futurelearn – a UK-led multi-university scheme offering free online courses.

Futurelearn was launched late last year by the Open University and was developed due to the growth of online degree-style courses in the United States.

“We’re in the middle of an exciting time for higher education in which anything is possible,” said the Open University vice-chancellor, Martin Bean.

“I’m convinced that Futurelearn will quickly become a great, innovative British export.”

Digital access

The British Library’s existing digital resources will be made available as a part of plans set for large-scale participation in online lectures and courses.

The library’s available digital collections include over 800 medieval manuscripts, 50,000 sound recordings, and 40,000 19th century books.

Roly Keating, chief executive of the British Library, said: “Futurelearn is an exciting development in higher education, with the potential to enable mass access to valuable resources and teaching anywhere in the world, for free.

“As the home of a growing set of unique and valuable digital resources, the British Library is looking forward to partnering with the Open University and widening access to our collections for even more researchers online worldwide as the initiative develops.”

Futurelearn’s online lectures and courses are scheduled to start later this year.

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