As the US moves on to SPOCS (small private online courses), Europe is hit hard by the MOOCS (massive open online courses) wave. Last month, the European Commission launched Open Education Europa, a portal which aims to be the unique gateway for European Open Educational Resources. This came as a part of the Opening Up Education initiative which was introduced the same month by the European Commission to “boost innovation and digital skills in schools and universities”. Logically for higher education, the issue of introduction of MOOCS in HE institutions is taken up with new zeal.
Apart from individual online courses offered by universities, third party platforms, like edX or Coursera in the US, which serve as host for MOOCS, are becoming increasingly visible. Britain launched FutureLearn in September, UK’s first commercial MOOC platform which will involve more than 20 British and international universities offering MOOCS.
Earlier this year, Berlin based start-up, iversity became the first German MOOC platform to come in the picture. To encourage the MOOC platform phenomenon in Europe, iversity even launched a competition, the MOOC Production Fellowship. Ten winning universities were recruited to produce iversity’s inaugural batch of online courses.
In the beginning of October, the French Ministry of Higher Education announced the launch of the national MOOC platform. The new portal which will include courses from over 100 French and international HE institutions will use free OpenEDX technology to host the MOOCS. The portal is part of the national plan to better digitalize higher education in France: France Université Numérique (FUN).
These are exciting times in higher education and with the US claiming to be already in the post-MOOC era, Europe is also slowly but surely finding its place in the online race. Keep an eye on this blog for more updates on new developments in higher education in Europe and around the world!