Benefits to students

Hosted through FutureLearn, the University's open online courses offer a unique opportunity to develop life-long skills in a collaborative online learning environment.

Interdisciplinary Study

Employers highly value students who are able to think outside the confines of their degree subject. The open online courses will allow all students to engage with each of the Bristol Futures themes immediately, irrespective of their discipline and the extent to which the themes are already embedded within their established curriculum.

Working with others

Because the courses are open resources that are free for any learner worldwide, students will also get the chance to engage with others to form new learning communities: undergraduate students will be able to work alongside postgraduate students; students from the University of Bristol can share ideas with students from partner universities and with alumni.

Enhancing personal development and employability

Completing a Bristol Futures open course is one of the required elements for the Bristol PLUS Award. Build on your learning and get additional recognition by achieving this Award which is endorsed by a range of employers. If you would like to register for the Bristol PLUS Award the deadline is 8 February. 

The courses have been developed by staff and students, in conjunction with employers and other stakeholders, to help our students to prepare for life after they graduate. Together, the three courses are designed to help students 'Unleash their Potential'. They build on the skills and attributes of the Bristol Skills Framework. The emphasis of Innovation and Enterprise is on engagement and influence, Global Citizenship on knowledge and intellectual abilities and Sustainable Futures on personal effectiveness and wellbeing. Throughout the courses, we signpost learners to the particular skills and attributes that each activity is designed to address, and ask them to reflect as they go on their personal development.

Female student smiling at desk.

Promoting student wellbeing

Through their emphasis on personal development, the courses will provide students with an opportunity to explore different approaches to promoting wellbeing; supporting themselves and helping others. They will encourage students to reflect positively on issues around personal effectiveness and sustainability and suggest strategies to overcome some of the individual challenges that they will face throughout their life.

A chance to explore new ways of learning

The open online courses will offer our students the chance to experience new ways of learning. The assessment has been designed to help students to develop skills and attributes, rather than as a measurement of achievement. We want to encourage students to try something new or unfamiliar and to take risks without having to worry that their grades might suffer. The courses have been designed to be flexible, with learners able to choose how they want to learn and which steps they want to complete. They are inclusive in their design and accessible to a diverse range of students with different learning styles.

Student thinking whilst studying

Manageable for all students

The core content of each course should take about three hours per week to complete, although students can choose to engage with more or less of the material, and there is no requirement that activities have to be completed within the scheduled week. The workload is intended to be manageable, even for students with lots of timetabled hours. The flexibility means that students can work around their existing studies and other commitments. The courses should therefore be especially attractive to students on professional programmes such as law, medicine, dentistry or veterinary science, who want to diversify their interests, but who might otherwise struggle to take on significant other commitments.

Edit this page