Unique partnership brings new expertise to online learning

The first ever set of online courses developed by a university and the Natural History Museum has opened for enrollment, with a focus on extinction.

In a unique partnership, The University of Manchester and The Natural History Museum have created short, personalised online courses for the public. The courses bring together the world-leading knowledge and teaching expertise of both institutions, covering topics such as extinctions, forensics and the biology and classification of biodiversity. 

The first series of courses is expected to start in Spring 2015 focusing on extinction, ranging from ancient extinction events, including what happened to the dinosaurs, through to modern and potential future extinctions. 

Professor Norman MacLeod, Dean of Postgraduate Education and Training at the Museum, says: “The researchers and curators of The Natural History Museum are world-renowned for their contributions to scholarly knowledge through their books and technical journal articles and also through the lectures they give and students they supervise. Now, advances in information technology and our partnership with The University of Manchester will enable us to reach out to audiences beyond London and the UK. We hope these courses will advance awareness, curiosity and learning about the natural world as well as promoting responsible stewardship of our planet.”

Rather than opting to run the courses as massive open online courses (MOOCs), these two world leading institutions will offer a more intimate and personal approach to online learning.

Professor Clair Baldock, Deputy Associate Dean for Teaching, Learning and Students for the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University explains: “The large numbers of students enrolled on MOOCs make it difficult for each student to interact personally with the teaching experts. For the most part, MOOC students are recipients of information. We want our short-course students to benefit from a more interactive and engaging learning experience.”

The Faculty of Life Sciences has extensive experience in the successful delivery of online courses. It is currently offering a range of short courses on Ancient Egypt throughout the year, covering topics such as Tutankhamen, Queens of Ancient Egypt, and Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. 

For more information or to enroll visit: www.ls.manchester.ac.uk/distancelearning/nhmcourses

Information about the courses will also be released on Twitter via @NHM_London and @LSNewsfeed.

Notes for editors

Interview and image requests should be made to the press office.

For further information please contact:

Morwenna Grills
Media Relations Officer
Faculty of Life Sciences
The University of Manchester

Tel: 0161 275 2111
Mob: 07920 087466
Email: morwenna.grills@manchester.ac.uk

The Natural History Museum Press Office
Tel: 020 7942 5654 
Email: press@nhm.ac.uk