The University of Leeds and Pearson have today announced a partnership to develop and deliver 12 online Masters-level degree programmes, which in time will allow thousands of students both in the UK and globally to benefit from Leeds’ world-class reputation in student education.
The first course, a fully online MBA taught and accredited by the University of Leeds’ award-winning Business School, opens for applications today.
This partnership builds on Leeds’ sector-leading reputation in digital learning, having been the first Russell Group university to introduce credit-bearing Massive Open Online Courses, delivered through FutureLearn. Leeds’ online courses on the FutureLearn platform have attracted over 750,000 joiners since launch.
Consistently achieving high scores in the National Student Survey, student education at Leeds was also singled out as a factor in Leeds becoming The Times and The Sunday Times University of the Year 2017.
Through this partnership, Leeds is joining forces with Pearson, the world’s leading learning company. Pearson is the global leader in online degrees, with over 45 partnerships spanning three continents. Pearson has been responsible for over 300,000 online course starts and serves over 70,000 students worldwide. This part of the business is one of the fastest growing parts of Pearson, as more universities see the advantages of scaling up online learning.
Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor, University of Leeds said: “This initiative highlights our unfailing commitment to flexible and inclusive education and the adoption of cutting edge educational technologies. It will also give international profile to research-based learning, one of the hallmarks of a Leeds education.”
John Fallon, chief executive of Pearson said: “Online degrees have the power to transform lives, allowing ever more learners in the UK and around the world to benefit from high quality, flexible, career-relevant education. Through this partnership with the University of Leeds we’ll be doing just that, combining Leeds’ world-leading reputation with Pearson’s expertise.”
Professor Tom Ward, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education said: “In a higher education landscape that has become increasingly globalised, technology plays a key role, enabling high quality interactions and bringing learners together to share cultural experiences.
“Our new online courses open up access to higher education. This is important for the future, in which flexibility in how courses will be offered is key.”
Professor Peter Moizer, Executive Dean, Leeds University Business School said: "This is an exciting venture for the University of Leeds, and we are delighted that the Business School is delivering the first online degree as part of this new partnership."
Andy Moss, Senior Vice President for Higher Education at Pearson UK said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the University of Leeds to deliver these online courses. This is a big long-term programme that will cater for thousands of students first in business and in time across a range of disciplines. The potential impact in terms of improving access and outcomes in higher education is tremendous and this partnership is a real statement of Leeds’ ambition to be a world leader in digital education.”
While courses can be completed over two years, students will have up to four years so that they can balance study and personal commitments. Study will include online video seminars and interactive engagement with lecturers and other students.
The University’s existing Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), delivered through Blackboard, will host the courses, with dedicated support for students throughout the enrolment process and while they are studying.
This platform enhances the learning experiences of students, for example offering synchronous online classrooms for interaction, discussion and collaborative working.
Under the partnership between Leeds and Pearson, online course development and content, teaching, assessment and award, and student services will be provided by Leeds. Pearson will be responsible for student recruitment, front line student support and retention services.
In the future the partnership plans to launch further courses in areas such as Business, Engineering and Medicine and Health.