Kent partners with FutureLearn to provide credit-bearing microcredentials

Sam Wood

The University is expanding its partnership with FutureLearn, the leading social learning platform, to include a number of new credit-bearing microcredentials.

The new suite of microcredentials includes the International Relations: Global Politics in Turbulent Times program from Kent’s School of Politics and International Relations, which is open for enrolment now. The microcredentials will be from Kent Law School.

FutureLearn’s microcredentials are created and accredited by universities as professional credentials designed to build career skills and allow for a deeper understanding of a subject, with the opportunity to earn academic credit.

Additionally, beginning in early 2021, Kent Law School will be launching a new microcredential; ‘Critical International Migration Law’, to be delivered online by FutureLearn and providing students with the broad insights specific to international law.

These microcredentials represent the next phase of a long and fruitful partnership, with the University launching its first FutureLearn course on programming back in 2016. Over the past four years, Kent has run a series of popular courses on the FutureLearn platform, covering topics such as history, autism and politics and generating over 150k enrolments.

Feedback on the University’s FutureLearn courses has been overwhelmingly positive with 93.5% positive feedback.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing disruption to education across the world, the University signed up to FutureLearn Campus, FutureLearn’s initiative which allows universities to give millions of their current students and staff free upgraded access to short courses across the platform.

Anthony Manning, the University’s Dean for Internationalisation, said: ‘The development of our microcredentials represents a natural step in Kent’s developing collaboration with FutureLearn. It is a key part of the University’s commitment to extending worldwide access to our learning opportunities in new and flexible ways. We have identified a series of microcredentials which we feel will appeal to our UK and international audiences and we look forward to extending the reach of our educational provision in this new and exciting manner.’

Justin Cooke, Chief Content and Partnerships Officer, at FutureLearn, said: ‘The University of Kent is one of our longstanding partners and we are delighted to be expanding our relationship to include microcredentials. At FutureLearn, we believe that microcredentials are a key tenet in our mission to transform access to education. By unbundling the degree we are enabling learners to access high quality, modular learning that fits into their life and work at an accessible price.

‘We strive to give our learners access to the skills they need to remain competitive within a fast-changing jobs landscape, and as digital innovation continues to impact the way we work, research has shown that 64% of HR leaders believe that in the future, the need for continuous lifelong learning will demand higher levels of education and more credentials. The economic disruption brought on by the pandemic has only heightened this need for upskilling and so we are proud to partner with forward-thinking institutions like the University of Kent, that are passionate about equipping students and professionals with the right skills, not just for the current climate but for the future too.’