Sheffield leads way with free online university courses

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Almost 800,000 people have signed up to take free online courses offered by leading UK universities – including ones offered by Sheffield University.

Business, health and language are among the most popular subject areas for ‘massive open online courses’ – known as MOOCs – which were partly pioneered in Sheffield.

Women are more likely to join than men – 58 per cent of students are female – and more than 70 per cent already have a degree or higher qualification.

There is also a wide age range, with the largest group aged between 26 and 35. About one in eight are over 55.

The most popular course so far has been the British Council’s Explore English: Language and Culture MOOC, which more than 122,000 people signed up for.