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How do you say MOOCs in French?

On 2 October, Geneviève Fioraso, French Minister for Higher Education and Research inaugurated the platform France Université Numérique (FUN) as part of the French government’s agenda on information technology and higher education. The three main priorities of the agenda are

  • maximise the use of information technology in the best and most efficient way possible within all relevant stages – orientation, initial education, entry into working life and life-long learning;
  • apply information technology as a pedagogical innovative tool for teaching staff; and
  • improve universities’ competitiveness and attractiveness through information technology.

The three priorities are to be achieved through the implementation of 18 specific actions such as IT-infrastructure improvements at university campuses, or the introduction of a cloud service for higher education institutions which would entail a complete sharing of IT infrastructure and a standardisation of IT systems across the French university landscape.  More importantly, one of the key actions includes the launch of a national French-language platform for massive open online courses (MOOCs), or CLOM as the French would say (Cours en ligne ouvert et massif or Cours en ligne ouvert aux masses).

The French government’s initiative is obviously to be seen as an attempt to catch up in light of the current MOOCs mania. For this practical reason, France has recently teamed up with the American MOOCs provider EdX. Long-term success of national initiatives will very much depend on the coordination between a supra-national EU and national levels, given the European Commission’s plans to improve the digital dimension of education in Europe, as stated in the Commission’s communication Opening up Education published last month (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, September 2013). 

France Université Numérique (in French)

EdX press release