Information Services


Growth of online learning

More than 7,000 learners have studied a degree online with the University of Edinburgh. A number of projects are underway to grow this community further.

Improving our website for prospective online learners

We are collaborating with Communications and Marketing and the Service Excellence Programme to improve the quality and persuasiveness of the central online learning website through simplifying the journey and producing more engaging content such as video, photography and student testimonials. The team is also working with MSc (online) History to help them ensure their website better meets users’ needs.

Visit new postgraduate online learning website.

Market insights

Staff who are planning a final marketing push for their online programmes over the summer may find it useful to review information on how applicants heard about their programme. You can filter this information to programme level to understand more about where your applicants look for information. Online search engine comes out top, highlighting the importance of having a persuasive and accurate website.

How applicants heard about their online programme (EASE login required).

We've also undertaken a study of the most recent online learning intake and are now able to share these insights with you.

Read more about the characteristics of 2017/18 entry online students (EASE login required).

Online learning marketing community

85 attendees participated in two marketing community events this year. Our next forum is on Wednesday 22 August - join us for an update on the website project and to hear recruitment case studies of success.

Sign up for August Online Learning Marketing Forum.

More than 30 student recruitment professionals have now attended the DIY Film School workshop to brush up on their mobile phone film-making skills. 60 staff have attended Search Engine Optimisation training.

Distance learning at Scale

Plans are underway to expand our digital education ecosystem, offering new flexible ways to learn and study. This natural extension of our existing online learning portfolio is core University business. There are two aspects to the strategy designed to deliver education at a larger scale:

  • a new online pedagogy rooted in our strengths in high quality, research-led teaching;
  • the delivery of a scalable capability and capacity which can be used by new programmes for the future.

Our goal is to have a proven, scalable capacity to plan, create and deliver online learning at scale without compromising quality, so that Schools can leverage this capability for their own programmes. Look out for more communications and roadshows over the coming months.


Over the last 5 years the University has seen 2.5 million combined enrolments across our portfolio of 53 free MOOCs available on 3 global platforms. From January to May 2018 we launched 3 new courses: Data Science in Stratified Healthcare and Precision Medicine, Climate Change: Carbon Capture and Storage and the latest, Nitrogen: A Global Challenge. We are also re-launching a new version of the popular How to Read a Novel which will run alongside the James Tait Black Award and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Visit the MOOCs website.


(Ed. this article was originally published on 2 Jul, 2018)