A course proposal outlines the course you wish to develop at FutureLearn and is reviewed and processed by the Content team.
The proposal is used to:
- determine if the course is a good fit for the FutureLearn portfolio.
- assign your course to an expert portfolio team at FutureLearn.
- provide our Copywriters with the information they need to write the content of your Course Description Page (CDP).
Course proposals are not required for:
Submit a course proposal in Course Creator
Only team members with organisation admin permission can submit a course proposal.
Submit your proposal at least 6–8 weeks before your desired course start date. This is the suggested timeframe for FutureLearn to work with you on delivering the course on our platform. It does not account for all the time you may require for content creation. Submit the proposal before you start significantly working on your course content.
Login to Course Creator. In your organisation area, find the ‘course proposals’ subtitle in the ‘overview’ tab. Select ‘submit new course proposal’.
- Do not include your course title in any video or audio media for the course. Our Copywriters conduct SEO and keyword research to optimise course titles; we have character limits and must avoid course titles matching on the site. The title you submit may be changed to maximise learner traffic.
- Describe the course how you would to a friend. Writing the proposal and providing a thorough overview of a course before you have started writing the content can sometimes feel tough. If you know who your course is for, what it's about, how you'll teach the material, and the topic matters, you have enough information to submit a proposal.
- Trust our Copywriters. They write 100s of CDPs, testing, experimenting, and analysing what works best. They know how all FutureLearn CDPs are written i.e. we use language like 'you'll learn' instead of 'the learner' or 'you'll have the opportunity to learn' to speak directly to the reader and encourage them to join. The CDP must be finished and reviewed to open for enrolment and we need time to work on it.
Questions within the course proposal form
1. Working title of the course: Once you have submitted your proposal and it has been approved, a course shell will be created. The title will appear with ‘TBC’ in Course Creator until our Copywriters have reviewed it. Please do not edit this. The ‘TBC’ alerts our Copywriters that the Course Description Page needs reviewing.
Factors we consider when reviewing titles:
- the length of the title must be no more than 80 characters
- whether the course is introductory or intermediate
- the inclusion of keywords to increase website traffic (Search Engine Optimisation)
- whether the course already exists with FutureLearn or elsewhere. We avoid using the same title as an existing FutureLearn course to improve both SEO and learner experience.
2. Who is this content for?: Be specific about the type of person you are trying to target for this course. Include information such as:
- what will learners receive? Certificates, awards, etc.
- how will this course help their career, development, confidence, and knowledge?
- are there specific sectors or career pathways your course will serve?
- reasons this audience may wish to take this course.
- is there a primary and secondary audience for this course?
- at what level is your course aimed? E.g. beginner, intermediate or advanced course?
- is any prior knowledge or experience required?
- avoid stipulating 'everyone'.
3. What content does this course cover?: Provide 4–6 bullet points outlining what the course will cover. These act as the course syllabus. They appear on the course transcript and can appear on the Course Description Page. They should be different from your learning outcomes (see below).
4. Subjects: FutureLearn courses are organised into subject areas on our website. Choose up to 2 related subjects - the first is considered your primary subject.
- Business and Management
- Creative Arts and Media
- Health and Psychology
- IT and Computer Science
- Nature & Environment
- Politics & Society
- Psychology and Mental Health
- Science, Engineering and Maths
- Study Skills
5. Topics: FutureLearn course subjects are further categorised into topics. This helps learners to more easily identify courses of interest. Select topics based on this rule: 'this course is about [topic]' not 'this course includes [topic]'.
6. How long will this course run for?: Select the number of weeks. Short courses should be a minimum of two weeks. The most successful courses are between four and six weeks long.
7. How many hours of study will be required per week?: Select an option up to 10 hours. Hours of study include all the time required to complete the course on and off the platform e.g. assessment preparation.
8. Desired course start date: Select the Monday you would like your course to start (i.e. open for learning). Please be realistic when setting your desired start date. Realistic start dates help to ensure you can be provided with the most effective support from the Content team. Your start date can be changed should it need to be modified. There is no need to complete the dates for the second and third run because the majority of courses now run on the on demand business model.
9. Why should learners join this course?: This is the most important section for our Copywriters. Explain in 5-10 sentences what the course is about and why it's important. Consider answers to the following questions from the perspective of learners considering joining your course:
- what is the main aim of the course?
- how will a learner benefit from taking this course?
- what will learners create, produce, practice or develop in this course?
- what is the unique selling point of this course?
If possible, outline the weeks i.e. what content will be covered in Week 1, Week 2, and consider including keywords.
10. What are the learning outcomes of this course?: These will appear on the course transcript and on the Course Description Page under the words ‘By the end of the course, you’ll be able to...”. Add up to 8 learning outcomes. They must each start with an active verb.
11. Why are you the best organisation to deliver this course?: Tell us about the unique perspective and expertise you bring to this area. Are there any unique assets or stats which would stand out and excite prospective learners?
12. Is this course part of a program?: If the course will be part of an ExpertTrack, insert the name of the overall ET here and select 'yes'.
13. What are your commercial objectives?: If you have any further questions about this section, please contact your Partnership Manager.
14. Are you working with any content providers, sponsors, accreditors, specialist organisations, or other third-party organisations on the course?: Insert the names here of organisations whose logo you would like to appear on the CDP. They can be listed on the CDP under a number of different 'relationships' see third-party organisation logos for more information.
15. Are you intending to, or considering using this course for research purposes?: If the answer to this question is yes, you must discuss this with your Partnership Manager and follow our guidelines for research surveys.
16. Have you chosen a course image that you’d like to represent your course on FutureLearn?: Select yes if you intend to find your own image, and no if you would like the Content team to source a suitable course image for the CDP.
17. Contact details: What is the name and email address of the lead contact for this course? This should be the individual/individuals who will be the central point of contact for essential matters relating to the delivery of the course. By providing these details to us, you confirm that you have received consent from the person whose details you are submitting, to use them for this purpose i.e. course development.
The person with organisation admin who submits the proposal will receive an email when it has been processed:
After you submit your proposal:
- download our 5 Stages of Course Development 'List of Links' PDF (below) to guide you.
- FutureLearn will create the course shell in Course Creator and send the link to whoever submitted the proposal, along with setting the course price.
- inform us as far in advance as possible if the proposed course start date and QA date change.
if you are a sole educator submitting a proposal and you will be doing all the course development, let us know when we email you with the course shell.
FutureLearn ideally needs one main point of contact, or a list of all key contacts involved in course development (including their email addresses), as early as possible in the process.
Tell your Partnership Manager if you plan to use our Lead Generation tool to promote your own programmes.
How long does it take to develop a FutureLearn course?
The answer is: it depends on a lot of factors. Consider the factors in the image below which are relevant to you. The timings provided are estimates. Additional factors can impact course development. *Use this is a guide only*. Your course development may be faster or take longer.
ExpertTracks and Microcredentials generally take longer. All the same factors apply.
Consult our 5 Stages of Course Development (below) to find out what goes into a course build.
Terminology on this page that you aren’t familiar with? Check out our glossary.