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M&S Launches Online Business Course

M&S Launches Online Business Course

Retailer Marks and Spencer is entering into the realm of online education, joining up with the University of Leeds to launch a free course on business innovation.

The Mooc (massive open online course) will look at some of the innovative business ideas that have been relevant to M&S over the years, drawing from the company’s archive.

The M&S archive, which has been held on the Leeds University campus since 2012, includes information on more than 70,000 items, about a research laboratory that was set up in the 1930s for developing new fabrics and the promotion of chilled foods in the 1960s. And this data goes all the way back to when the company was first established in Leeds in 1884.

The online course uses a variety of teaching methods, such as videos, interactive polls and quizzes, as well as live discussion and communication with the university’s researchers in business, design and engineering.

These online self-study courses were initially associated with universities, bringing together hundreds of courses from hundreds of educational institutes, making their courses available to a wider audience through distance learning.

Millions of people sign up to these courses, and more and more organisations with no formal role in education have also gotten involved and created their own courses.

For example, just recently an English language teaching course was produced by the British Council through a Mooc learning platform called FutureLearn, the same platform as the M&S course is using. FutureLearn was set up by the Open University, an online university in which the student’s previous academic achievements are not taken into account for entry onto most of its courses.

Other organisations such as some museums and the IMF (International Monetary Fund) have also created their own online courses, but M&S is one of the first retailers to take this step.

However, although Moocs don’t cost anything to take part in, they also don’t usually lead to a formal qualification for higher education either. For the M&S course, when students have completed the business innovation course, they can receive a certificate called a “Statement of Participation”.

“This course aims to stimulate and encourage further growth in innovative and entrepreneurialism in the business sector,” explained Neil Morris, Leed University’s Director of Digital Learning.

If you would like to learn more about the Marks and Spencer course on business innovation, you can do so by clicking here.

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