All invite-only courses must meet the same standards expected of public courses.
What is an invite-only (non-degree) course?
Invite only courses can enable you to run courses for specific, closed cohorts of learners. Access is managed by invitations, which you can send and monitor via Learning Manager. Please speak to your Partnership Manager about costs involved in using Learning Manager to manage invitations.
How do they work
Below are the steps involved in creating and running an invite only course. This information relates to non-degree courses.
Step 1: Create your course shell
You will need Organisation Admin to complete this step. If you don’t already have the necessary permissions contact email@example.com. Unlike for an open course, which must go via our proposal submission process, you can create a course shell yourself by clicking ‘Create New Course’ within Course Creator.
When creating the course, ensure you set the correct ‘course type’ - Private invite only
Step 2: Add basic information required to send invites to learners
In the course set-up process, you will be required to enter the following information:
- Course title (‘short title’ field)
- Course Description Page copy (‘Introduction’, ‘Description’, ‘Who is the course for?’ fields)
- Course image
- Hours per week
- Start date
Click to ‘Create’ your course shell
We recommend you also add a short syllabus, learning outcomes and the number of weeks (by adding blank weeks within ‘content’) at this point. These, along with the other details entered above, will populate the Course Description Page, which learners will see on acceptance of their invitation to join the course.
If you are working with any third parties and you would like them to represented on the Course Description Page, please send their logo (in vector format) to firstname.lastname@example.org and explain what their relationship to the course is (for example, co-creator, funder, endorser etc.).
Finally, ask FutureLearn to publish your course. This will ensure the course appears to you in Learning Manager and enables you to start sending invites when you’re ready. To do this, please email: email@example.com and copy your Partnership Manager into your request. By default, invite-only courses will offer learners a digital Certificate of Achievement on completion. If you would rather not offer Certificates to learners, please notify partner support when you send your request to publish.
Step 3: Build your course
You can access lots of resources to help with your course build here. If you haven’t already taken our ‘How to Make a Great FutureLearn Course’ course, ask firstname.lastname@example.org for an invite.
Invite only courses do not feature the standard FutureLearn in-course surveys. If you would like to survey your learners, you will need to set up your own surveys
Step 4: Review
FutureLearn only provides Quality Assurance for open courses and microcredentials, but we would encourage you to do your own QA check before your course runs. You are welcome to use our Course Criteria as a basis for your own internal QA check.
There is also guidance on how to ensure your course content is fully accessible available in the digital accessibility section of the site.
Step 5: Final checks pre course run
FutureLearn will send an email to learners each week, welcoming them to the week and encouraging them to get started. You have the option to edit these emails to add your own course-specific content. You can do this via the ‘Emails’ section in course creator. If you do this, please ensure your emails are drafted and submitted for approval the Thursday before the week they’re due to be sent. Please note that the content of weekly emails is subject to the same GDPR requirements as for an open course, and therefore must not contain promotional material. Please find full guidelines on course emails here.
Alternatively, you can choose to disable these weekly emails (if you’d like to do this please send a request to email@example.com well in advance of your course start date).
Unless you have notified us that you’d like to de-activate Certificates, you will need to add the required information to populate the Certificates in course creator. Please ensure the required information has been added and submitted well before the course starts, to ensure there’s no delay in learners receiving Certificates.
Step 6: Send learner invites
Once the course has been ‘published’, you will be able to send invites to learners via Learning Manager. If you haven’t used Learning Manger before, you can find instructions here. All invitations sent through Learning Manager will expire after 6 months, or on the course run's end date - whichever occurs sooner.
Step 7: Learning starts!
Once invited via Learning Manager, learners will automatically have all the benefits of upgraded access, meaning they will have access to all course materials (including any tests), will have access to the material for as long as it’s hosted on FutureLearn, and will be entitled to a Certificate of Achievement on completion (unless you’ve opted for no Certificates).
For any issues with the invitation process, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Some common issues and solutions are also covered in our troubleshooting guide below:
“I can’t see the course I want to send invites for in Learning Manager”
If your course isn’t appearing in the dropdown list, then the most likely cause is that it hasn’t been published yet. Please contact email@example.com with a request to publish the course.
“I can’t see my course in ‘Courses’ in Learning Manager”
Your course will only appear here after you have sent at least one invitation to join.
“Learners haven’t received their invites”
This can sometimes happen if an invite gets rerouted to a learner’s junk/spam email folders, so a good first step is to ask them to check there. If necessary, you can resend invitations from within Learning Manager.
“The invites I sent have expired”
The invitation link will expire after 6 months, or on the run's end date - whichever occurs sooner.
“My learners can’t see the course in My Learning / can’t access the course”
Please ask them to ensure that they are signed in with the correct account (i.e. the account with the email address that the course invite was sent to). It is likely they may be signed in with a second account.
“I would like to add team members to the course”
Roles and permissions can be assigned via the ‘Team’ tab in the course, by an Organisation Admin. More information on roles and permissions is found here.
How much does it cost to run an invite-only course?
Please contact your Partnership Manager at FutureLearn to discuss individual terms.
Can I see the same stats and data that I receive for an open course?
You will have access to the same top-level anonymous stats dashboard for an invite-only course as you would for an open course.
Do the learners on an invite-only course need a FutureLearn account?
Yes, they can either create a new FutureLearn account or use an existing account. They will, therefore, need to accept the FutureLearn Terms and Conditions.
Will FutureLearn carry out Quality Assurance (QA) on invite-only courses?
FutureLearn does not carry out Quality Assurance on invite-only courses as standard, however all invite-only courses must meet the same standards expected of public courses. If you wish to discuss QA for your invite-only course, please contact your Partnership Manager.