Writer and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig is the face of a new introductory ‘massive open online course’ (MOOC) on humanism from Humanists UK, the national charity representing the non-religious in the UK. Sandi, a humanist and a patron of Humanists UK, will take learners on a journey as they explore humanist approaches to life’s big questions together.

The new course, launched in partnership with social learning platform FutureLearn, is called ‘Introducing humanism: non-religious approaches to life’. It has been designed to meet growing demand from the vast segment of the population who are not religious but who are nonetheless hungry for answers to questions such as: How can I know what is true? What is the best way to live? What kind of world do I want?

The course features contributions from well-known humanists, academics, campaigners, humanist celebrants, and humanist pastoral carers, as well as members of the public.

MOOCs are free online courses that can be taken by anyone. Many universities around the world are now offering some of their courses through MOOCs, and businesses, museums, and charities are starting to do so as well. Established by the Open University in 2012, FutureLearn now boats over 7 million learners from 231 territories across the world. ‘Introducing humanism’ is Humanists UK’s first ever MOOC, and it is already available for enrolment for a 19 February start.

Announcing the new course, Sandi Toksvig said:

‘I’m delighted to be presenting this course. I’ve always been fascinated by life’s big questions and believe we should all have the opportunity to work out the answers for ourselves. The humanist approach to life works for me. I hope our new course gives others the chance to explore the humanist worldview and make an informed decision about their own conclusions.’

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Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson said:

‘Today a majority of people in the UK declare themselves to be non-religious, but we’re no less curious about life, about one other, or about the big questions. This free course has been designed to help satisfy that curiosity, and to help more people learn about a way of thinking that has had a profound impact on the world we live in today: humanism.’

FutureLearn Chief Executive Simon Nelson said:

‘We’re delighted to have Humanists UK as a partner. Our mission is to make education accessible to as many people as possible, across the globe, and in our minds, that doesn’t stop with traditional curriculum-focused subjects. Our learners are interested in the bigger questions too and we’re sure this course will stimulate much debate in the social learning conversations throughout the course.’

What is humanism?

Humanism is a non-religious, ethical worldview shared by millions of people across the world. Humanists believe that this life is the only life we have, that the universe is a natural phenomenon with no supernatural side, and that we can live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity.

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