The University of Birmingham is introducing further free, open, online courses today offering a taste of higher education to learners worldwide.

Universally known as MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses), Birmingham’s latest course offerings examine what is good and bad about the human brain and present an introduction to Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Delivered by world-class academics from the University of Birmingham, in partnership with FutureLearn, the courses enable learners to sample high-quality academic content via an interactive web-based platform.

A two-part MOOC, Good Brain, Bad Brain will firstly cover the basics of the human brain followed by an exploration into Parkinson’s Disease

Shakespeare’s Hamlet: Text, performance and culture will examine different aspects of this extraordinary text and explore why it is the most famous and much-discussed play ever written.

The new courses follow the launch of the University’s first MOOC in Dental Photography in September and the First World War Wings of Modernity course, jointly developed with the BBC, which was announced last month.

Professor John Heath, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Estates and Infrastructure at the University of Birmingham, said: ‘We are proud of our excellent research-led teaching and learning that pushes the boundaries of knowledge. These new free, online courses will enable increased access to higher education and offer a taste of the inspirational Birmingham experience for a whole new community of learners worldwide.’

The courses have been developed by senior academic staff and the content is quality-assured in line with the University of Birmingham’s other programmes. There are no entry requirements for students enrolling on the MOOCs. The courses do not offer credits towards admission to the University.

The latest courses are scheduled to commence in January 2014. Interested learners can register their interest with the University of Birmingham or sign up with FutureLearn to receive information about course registration.

FutureLearn was created in December 2012 as the UK’s first provider of free, high quality MOOCs. Its partners and course providers comprise of more than 20 leading UK and international universities, and cultural institutions including the British Library, British Museum and British Council.

For media enquiries, please contact the University of Birmingham Press Office / +44 (0)121 414 8254.