thumbnail Free online course explores Hadrian's Wall

Newcastle University is bringing learners around the world to Hadrian’s Wall with its first ever free online course on the FutureLearn social learning platform. 

The six-week course, entitled ‘Hadrian’s Wall: life on the Roman frontier’, offers a comprehensive introduction to the most heavily fortified frontier in the Roman Empire, its people and their lives, and raises fascinating issues concerning colonisation, cultural transformation, immigration, integration and imperialism.
The course starts on 22 September, and free registration is open from today - 2 June.
Exploring life in the region before the construction of the Wall, the changing face of the Roman army and the civilian population, this interactive course is open to anyone. The rich archaeological evidence for the garrison, their families, the native population, slaves, merchants and settlers will be presented by world experts, who will be on hand to discuss questions. This is the only free online course in the world focused entirely on this iconic 73 mile long landmark, which is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Professor Suzanne Cholerton, Newcastle University Pro-Vice Chancellor Learning and Teaching, said: “Our partnership with FutureLearn offers a unique opportunity to anyone, anywhere in the world to experience the historical and cultural significance of Hadrian’s Wall in a stimulating learning environment.
“This free online course draws on the University’s long-standing academic reputation and FutureLearn’s social learning leadership expertise. It was developed with an extensive range of specifically designed interactive resources to offer an engaging way to learn about the history of this important place in Roman history."
The CEO of FutureLearn, Simon Nelson, said: “The course on Hadrian’s Wall from Newcastle University promises to showcase compelling storytelling techniques while delivering effective learning. This is a hallmark of FutureLearn courses, which use strong narratives alongside social learning to bring education to life for our hundreds of thousands of learners.”

The course is led by Ian Haynes, Professor of Archaeology, from Newcastle University’s School of History, Classics and Archaeology. 
Professor Haynes said: "I am delighted to have this opportunity to reach a large audience with the exciting story of Hadrian's Wall. Newcastle University has a strong relationship with the Wall both ancient and modern and the free online course is a marvellous opportunity to celebrate this and provide new ways of exploring this amazing landmark.
“Multiple organisations joined us in the preparation of this important project, including Newcastle City Council, English Heritage, The Clayton Trust, National Trust, Vindolanda Trust, Tyne and Wear Archives & Museums and the Senhouse Museum.”
The course features videos from key archaeological sites along Hadrian’s Wall, such as Vindolanda, Arbeia, Segedunum, Maryport, Corbridge and Chesters. In addition, online participants can interact with each other, tutors and experts via discussions, and online live events.
As part of the course participants can explore real forensic case studies in detail such as The Bairn in the Barracks, The Strange Case of Skull 8556, and a mystery at a reconstructed Roman banquet, all designed to illuminate the complexities of daily life on Rome’s most famous frontier.
Registration is free and is open now until the end of the course in October via FutureLearn
FutureLearn is a social learning platform that brings together 27 leading universities and three renowned content providers – the British Library, British Museum and British Council - in a unique partnership to deliver free online courses in a wide-range of academic disciplines.
Free online courses have grown rapidly in a short period of time. Currently there are more than six million people enrolled worldwide. 


published on: 2nd June 2014

Key Facts:

  • Newcastle University is a Russell Group University
  • Ranked in the top 1% of universities in the world (QS World University Rankings 2014)
  • Ranked 16th in the UK for global research power (REF 2014)
  • Ranked 10th overall in the UK and 3rd for quality of staff/lecturers in the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2015
  • Winner: Outstanding Leadership and Management Team and Outstanding Procurement Team, Times Higher Leadership and Management Awards 2015
  • Amongst our peers Newcastle is:
    • Joint 6th in the UK for student satisfaction
    • Ranked 1st in the UK for Computing Science research impact, 3rd in the UK for Civil Engineering research power and 11th in the UK for Mathematical Sciences research (REF 2014)
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    • Ranked 3rd in the UK for English, and in the top 12 for Geography, Architecture and Planning, and Cultural and Media Studies research quality (REF 2014)
    • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) top 20 strategic partner
  • 94% of our students are in a job or further training within six months of graduating
  • We have a world-class reputation for research excellence and are spearheading three major societal challenges that have a significant impact on global society. These themes are: Ageing, Sustainability, and Social Renewal
  • Newcastle University is the first UK university to establish a fully owned international branch campus for medicine at its NUMed Campus in Malaysia which opened in 2011
  • 90% Satisfaction level from our international students (ISB 2014)
  • Newcastle University Business School is one of 20 Triple Accredited Business Schools in the UK