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07 Oct 2013

Science for everyone as £1m pledge supports new Open University courses

People from all walks of life with an interest in science will be able to access a range of new courses by The Open University completely free of charge, thanks to a pledge of more than £1m by Dangoor Education, the educational arm of The Exilarch’s Foundation.

The pledge will enable The Open University (OU) to create an entire strand of new science related MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, delivered through iTunes U, OpenLearn and the OU’s own recently launched online MOOC platform, FutureLearn.

Dangoor Education supported MOOCs will offer whole OU courses at no cost to the student, ranging from exploring the Moon to investigations into cancer and autism. Users won’t need to be formally registered students – anyone can sign up to study a MOOC.

David Dangoor of The Exilarch’s Foundation, said: “The Open University offers a high quality education at a scale which is unmatched, not only in the UK, but globally. Dangoor Education, through The Exilarch’s Foundation, is delighted to support the OU’s bold step into MOOCs, making innovative science teaching freely available to anyone with access to the internet. We hope that these pioneering courses will help more people turn an interest in science into a qualification and even a career”.

Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, Martin Bean, said: “This generous donation is so much more than a one-off contribution – it’s an investment in the future that will impact on millions of lives for many years to come. It’s typical of David’s long-term commitment to education and one of the many reasons I admire him personally.”

Professor Hazel Rymer, Dean of the Science Faculty at The Open University, said: “With The Exilarch’s Foundation’s generous support, we aim to make The Open University the leading provider of free, online science courses. New technology means we can deliver an innovative, interactive experience of science like never before. Drawing on over 40 years of teaching science at a distance, this donation will enable us to take accessible courses to the next level.”

The first courses supported by Dangoor Education will launch from the 18th November 2013. Registration for the first supported MOOC – Ecosystems - is now available. To register and for more information on The Open University’s new free online courses, visit FutureLearn at futurelearn.com.

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