It is thought to be the first UK institution to allow massive open online courses – known as Moocs – to count towards a university qualification, regardless of which university developed the original course.
Edge Hill announced a for-credit Mooc in May, however the course was developed in-house, and those wishing to receive academic credit are required to pay a small fee, meaning it is not technically “open”.
Some of the world’s top universities have developed Moocs, many of which are available via online platforms such as Coursera, Udacity, EdX and the UK’s FutureLearn. According to Uclan, courses on all of these platforms – and those hosted elsewhere – will be considered for credit.
In order to gain credit against a module using learning gained from studying a Mooc, students will be required to demonstrate they have met the learning outcomes for the course through a “relevant assignment” set by academics at Uclan.
Beverly Leeds, principal lecturer in marketing at Lancashire Business School, who is responsible for the scheme, said: “Moocs are clearly one of the real big trends in education right now and they are undoubtedly a fantastic way to study.
“But at Uclan we want to harness their power to help our students study more flexibly and achieve their professional goals whilst earning credit towards a qualification. “
It is hoped that the scheme will be of particular benefit to those studying part time as it will increase the flexibility of their studies. Since the introduction of higher fees, the number of people enrolled in part-time education has fallen.
“By providing the opportunity to gain credit for studying Moocs through a structured programme of study we hope to encourage more part-time participation and wider opportunities for learning whilst in employment,” Ms Leeds added.