Four university partners have collaborated with the BBC and FutureLearn to create a series of massive open online courses on World War One (WW1), which marks the first time a major public broadcaster has contributed to MOOCs.  

The collaboration between the universities and the BBC is a key feature in FutureLearn’s mission to forge relationships between world class universities and cultural centres of excellence. The BBC’s involvement reinforces FutureLearn’s approach to online learning, one which brings learning to life through a rich narrative course design.  

Each free, online course from the University of Birmingham, University of Glasgow, University of Leeds and The Open University will use original multimedia content to explore an aspect of WW1. The BBC has contributed material of historical value from the its vast archive in the form of video, audio recordings and images, such as an interview with the English aviation pioneer, Sir Thomas Sopwith of the Sopwith Camel, and the World War One soldier and cartoonist Bruce Bairnsfather. The Royal Aeronautical Society's Air Power Fellow, Peter Gray, is the presenter for one of the courses, demonstrating the Society's continuing commitment to share and disseminate knowledge and information.  The courses are open now for registration and will begin between October and November 2014.

They are:  

World War One: Paris 1919 - A New World Order? - University of Glasgow (starts 13 October)
World War One: Aviation Comes of Age - University of Birmingham (starts 20 October)
World War One: Changing Faces of Heroism - University of Leeds (starts 27 October)
World War One: Trauma and Memory - The Open University (starts 3 November)  

Simon Nelson, CEO, FutureLearn, said: “It’s our aim at FutureLearn to connect our university partners to other great centres of culture and knowledge, so I’m delighted to see the BBC and these four universities come together to create new learning experiences. And it’s the learners who are the real winners here, gaining access to the unrivalled resources of one of the world’s best known broadcasters, world leading educators, and each other, around an event as significant as the World War One centenary.”

Sinéad Rocks, Acting Controller of BBC Learning, said of the BBC’s contribution: “The BBC is committed to education and looking at how we can exploit technology to best serve audiences and contribute to the UK remaining a world leader in online learning."    

To sign up to the courses, click here.


Royal Aeronautical Society
5 August 2014