Quality assurance

Open online courses: Uppsala University’s MOOCs

During 2016/17, teachers at the University have created three Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), one from each disciplinary domain. These are intended to deepen the University’s knowledge of new forms of web-based learning, display some of the University’s strengths, and communicate current research to a broader public. The courses are provided through the UK-based platform FutureLearn.


In the past few years, the emergence of MOOCs has been seen by some as the future of universities and by others as a threat to academic quality and students’ right to a good education. After the first few years’ exaggerated optimism and pessimism, MOOCs are now at an interesting stage. No longer a unified phenomenon, they are instead being modified and used in increasingly varied contexts. Experience from thousands of courses is beginning to yield a much more nuanced picture of the strengths and weaknesses of MOOCs. A presentation of what MOOCs are and can be, their history, and their current status can be found in a Wikipedia article here.


Most MOOCs are provided through various external platforms, rather on universities’ own systems. Uppsala was the first Swedish university to choose FutureLearn, which was founded in 2013 and is an independent company wholly owned by the UK’s Open University.


On 11–12 June 2015, a conference on the adoption of MOOCs in the Nordic countries, arranged jointly by Uppsala University, Chalmers University of Technology and Lund University, was held at Karolinska Institute. Abstracts and presentations from the conference are available online and a new conference will take place on 9–10 June 2016 at Chalmers in Gothenburg.