Open University, in the UK, will begin offering free online courses with a new program called Futurelearn in early 2013.
Eleven UK universities including Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Anglia, Exeter, King’s College London, Lancaster, Leeds, Southampton, St Andrews and Warwick have signed up to add courses and content to Futurelearn as well.
This program will create direct competition with the free Coursera and edX teaching and learning platforms from U.S.
The American Council on Education will review a number of online courses offered by major US universities as part of a pilot project, funded by the Gates Foundation to look at the quality and use of massive open online courses as part of the ACE’s College Credit Recommendation Service.
According to a statement on the ACE website the project is looking at Coursera MOOCs that “can help raise degree completion, deepen college curricula and increase learning productivity.”
ACE is not an accrediting agency in any traditional sense. The group is a lobby group for higher education and offers professional development and information services for college and university leaders at over 100 institutions.