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Making sense of the MOOCs

Earlier this month ACA and EUA held a European Policy Seminar Making Sense of the MOOCs. The two long-standing partners aimed at having a critical look at the rapidly developing and widely debated phenomenon of MOOCs. Nearly 150 people – policy makers, university leaders and experts in higher education – were curious to learn about the real value and potential of MOOCs, having joined ACA and EUA for the seminar debates.  

High profile speakers from Europe and the US shared their views on best practices and worst challenges of MOOC. They also discussed possible business models, links to traditional open and distance learning, impact of MOOCs on quality, image and internationalisation of higher education. The seminar provided some insights into the background of MOOCs ‘customers’. Thus, a MOOCing learner seems to be a well-educated, picky but still not a very loyal user. Another topic on the agenda was the engagement of European players into the US ‘kingdom’ of MOOCs. With more than 250 MOOCs spread across Europe at the present stage, Europe seems to be keen to diversify its MOOCs portfolio by both teaming up with the US platforms such as Coursera, edX and Udacit and driving forward its own initiatives such as FutureLearn the recently launched Iversity, France Université Numérique, and OpenupEd, with public and private support.

More detailed information about the topics discussed at the seminar can be found in the presentations available for downloading on the ACA website.

Keeping pace with the MOOCs is not an easy thing. The next opportunity to get ‘brushed’ is offered by the Observatory of Borderless Higher Education (OBHE). Organised by the OBHE, the UK Higher Education International Unit and i-Graduate, the conference on International higher education revolution: Impacts on mobility, qualifications, networks will take place on 11-12 December at University of London and Regent’s University.