Free Online Course On Character Education

University of Birmingham is offering this open online course, ‘What is Character? Virtue Ethics in Education’ to showcase just a small fraction of the great offerings at the University. This beginner’s course is aimed to those who wish to explore how the development of character in young people can be applied in educational settings.

The overall objective of this course is to provide a better understanding to explore important questions about character education to understand virtues and the role they play in helping both individuals and society flourish. The course will start from February 15, 2016.

Course At A Glance

Length: 2 weeks
Effort:  4 hours/week
Subject: Character Education (Virtue Ethics in Education)
Institution: University of Birmingham and FutureLearn
Languages: English
Price:  Free
Certificate Available: Yes.
Session: Starts on February 15, 2016

Providers Details

University of Birmingham and FutureLearn are providing this online course on Character Education. At Birmingham the aim is to innovate and push the frontiers of understanding; it asks new research questions and turns theory through experiment into practice – because that’s what great universities do.

FutureLearn offers diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

About This Course

University will draw on the insights of academics from the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues within the School of Education at the University of Birmingham. Character education is increasingly being talked about by politicians, employers, teachers, parents and young people across the world. Can teaching virtues such as honesty, self-control, fairness, resilience and respect – which contribute to good character – be part of the solution to many of the challenges facing society today?

This free online course offers you the opportunity to understand virtues and the role they play in helping both individuals and society flourish. We will tap into this increasing interest and answer important questions such as what is character and character education, why is it important and can it be taught? For those interested in extending their learning it will also provide a taster course for an exciting new MA in Character Education currently being developed by the University of Birmingham.

 Why Take This Course?

This is a free online course. Applicants can get a personalized, digital and printed certificate. Applicants will learn with academic experts and practising teachers. They can learn according to your interests and at your convenience.

It will be of particular interest to those who wish to explore how the development of character in young people can be applied in educational settings.

Learning Outcomes

-This course will help you understand character, character education, virtue ethics and the role they play in both individual and societal flourishing.

Course Format

Each week has been divided into activities which can be completed together or individually:

-Week 1: An Introduction to Character Education
What is character education and why does it matter? (Professor James Arthur)
What is the philosophical basis for character education and what virtues constitute good character? (Professor Kristján Kristjánsson)

-Week 2: Character Education in Practice
How can character be ‘caught’ in schools? (Gary Walsh, Head Teacher)
Why should character be taught in schools? (Dan Wright, Teaching Fellow)


– Dr Tom Harrison (Lead Educator)

Deputy Director – Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham.


No prior knowledge of the subject area is required. This course has relevance across the world.

How To Join This Course

  • Go to the course website link.
  • Sign Up At FutureLearn
  • Select a course and Join
  • Once a course has started, you will be able to access the course material
  • After the start date, you will be able to access the course by following the Go To Course link on your My Courses page.
  • Applicants can buy, to show that you’ve completed a FutureLearn course.
  • On some FutureLearn courses, learners will be able to pay to take an exam to qualify for a Statement of Attainment. (These are university-branded, printed certificates that provide proof of learning on the course topic(s)).

Detailed Information