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MOOC Monitor: European Union Unveils Its Own MOOC Consortium… OpenUpEd

By on June 5, 2013
Continuing Education, Education Quality, International, MOOCs, OER - Open Educational Resources, Open Source Education, Personalized Learning, Required, Universities & Colleges

Dragon Ville Miettinen via Compfight

As we reported a year ago, the European Union wants to get in to the MOOC game and is doing so now with a dozen partners at colleges throughout Europe in its new OpenUpEd MOOC platform. Partners in 11 different countries (France, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, UK, Russia, Turkey and Israel) joined forces to launch the first pan-European MOOCs initiative with the European Commission backing it. This is a great development for MOOCs globally.

The EU is busy at work, creating transferability and standardization at universities throughout the 27 member countries as part of the Bologna Process. It’s a smart move for the EU to include universities in Turkey and Israel in this consortium as it shows a broader reach to bring European neighbors, friends and NATO members to the table.

Our View: The US may seem like the 800-pound gorilla with MOOC providers such as EdX, Udacity and Coursera signing millions of students and bringing in big-name venture capitalists. But Europe invented the concept of higher learning – from Plato’s Ancient Greece to the medieval universities of Bologna and Paris to powerful universities in places like Germany, Prague, Spain, Denmark and Sweden.

The Europeans actually seem to do a much better job at sifting their societies so that top students go to universities and others find jobs in other fields. That’s compared to America where universities are often a social rite of passage as much as a learning opportunity and where many students drop out of universities because they were ill-prepared to attend them in the first place. Therefore, European universities have, perhaps, a greater demand to distribute some of the learning for free to citizens who did not score high enough to attend their universities.

The EU has had a longer history with distance learning via the Open Universities and other efforts to engage adults in lifelong learning and career education. They are a force to contend with. We see OpenUpEd, Germany’s iversity and the Open University of the UK as the three leading forces right now in the European MOOC response to America’s edX, Coursera and Udacity.

Here are more details on the OpenUpEd program:

  • Around 40 courses, covering a wide variety of subjects, will be available free of charge and in 12 different languages.
  • The initiative is led by the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU) and mostly involves open universities.
  • Courses will range from math to economics to e-skills, e-commerce, climate change, the modern Middle East, language learning, creative writing, cultural heritage, corporate social responsibility.
  • Each partner will offer the courses via their own learning platform at in their home language.
  • Students can take the courses synchronously with other students or at their own pace.
  • All courses may lead to recognition: a completion certificate, a so-called badge, or a credit certificate that may count towards a degree. In the latter case, students have to pay for the certificate, with the cost ranging from € 25 to € 400, depending on the course size (the hours of study involved) and institution.

The European Commission writes: 

Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, welcomes the new initiative: “This is an exciting development and I hope it will open up education to tens of thousands of students and trigger our schools and universities to adopt more innovative and flexible teaching methods. The MOOCs movement has already proved popular, especially in the US, but this pan-European launch takes the scheme to a new level. It reflects European values such as equity, quality and diversity and the partners involved are a guarantee for high-quality learning. We see this as a key part of the Opening up Education strategy which the Commission will launch this summer.”

Professor Fred Mulder, chair of the EADTU task force on open education and UNESCO chair in Open Educational Resources, is leading the initiative. “We have much to offer in Europe by fully exploring the possibilities created by the MOOCs revolution, but with a broader perspective on opening up education. Our aim is to respond to the need for a more accessible system of higher education, which puts the learner at the centre. The European MOOCs will provide quality, self-study materials and a bridge between informal learning and formal education. Some of the courses attract formal credits which will count towards a degree, for example. And we cherish diversity both in language and in culture,” adds Mulder, who was Rector of the Open Universiteit in the Netherlands from 2000 to 2010.

EADTU President Will Swann says: “For decades, the open universities of Europe and their partners have brought the highest quality of teaching and learning to all who seek it. The pan-European MOOCs initiative shows our collective passion to further innovate. We look to expand with a growing range of courses from the launch partners, and we will welcome new partners from across the world who share our vision and practice of flexible, responsive higher education.

Via The European Commission



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MOOC Monitor: European Union Unveils Its Own MOOC Consortium… OpenUpEd – WiredAcademic | Flexibility Enables Learning
Jun 5, 2013

[...] See on http://www.wiredacademic.com [...]

MOOC Monitor: European Union unveils its own MOOC Consortium…OpenUpEd [wiredacademic.com]
Jun 11, 2013

[...] MOOC Monitor: European Union unveils its own MOOC Consortium…OpenUpEd — from wiredacademic.com [...]

MOOC Monitor: European Union Unveils Its Own MOOC Consortium… OpenUpEd – WiredAcademic « GHBrett's General Store
Jun 11, 2013

[...] See on http://www.wiredacademic.com [...]

Noticias | Manuel Area Moreira
Jun 17, 2013

[...] See on http://www.wiredacademic.com [...]

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