Massive open online courses: expanding the classroom from 10 to 50.000+ students

25 November 2015 Author: EIFonline

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) took the world by storm in 2012. Mainstream news sources picked up on the excitement and the commentary on the opportunities that MOOCs presented was wide-reaching.

MOOCs are a product of a growing recognition that the way we work, interact, and even learn is changing as digital media reshapes our expectations for communication. In order to ensure a comprehensive discussion on the Digital Transformation of Education, the EIF dinner debate, held on 17 November, brought together perspectives from a variety of stakeholders, including policy and decision makers, as well as representatives from Higher Education, industry and the publishing sector.

Highlights from Twitter

Lambert van Nistelrooij, MEP and EIF Steering Committee Member, chaired this event. In the opening remarks he noted that MOOCs had become the norm in today's education system and Europe must take the full advantage of it.
Hans Pongratz, VP and CIO of Technische Universität München (TUM), explained how TUM is using MOOCs and how it is changing learning methods for students and teaching methods for professors. He noted that the current challenges for the MOOCs industry are authentification, accreditation and data protection.
Carolina Jeux, CEO at Telefónica Educación Digital, shared her experience on running the MOOCs platform Miriadax. She described how MOOCs are reducing the cost of education, and how the use of MOOCs allows responses to industry's needs by generating curricula that different businesses require. She also described how MOOCs can be used as recruitment tools.
Patricia Reilly, Expert in the cabinet of Tibor Navracsics, EU Commissioner responsible for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, spoke about MOOCs in the EU. She stressed the importance of education quality, which still is the key factor for online and offline subjects, and noted that digital tools are still not evenly available for students across the EU. Ms Reilly also offered a glimpse into the study on the use of ICT based learning in 5 EU universities (to be published soon), which reveals that the blended learning model is very much valued by those surveyed. She also noted the importance of recognition of MOOC’s-based learning.
Stephan de Valk, Director for Strategy & Innovation at Noordhoff Uitgevers BV (Netherlands), presented the Dutch education model and publisher's position on the transformation of education. He elaborated on how the Netherlands is using copyrights and VAT exceptions for education. 
Dr. Olivier Küttel, Head of European Public Affairs at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, spoke about his university's MOOCs. He presented interesting statistics about the students taking MOOCs. Dr. Küttel noted that entirely online degrees are still missing. He also addressed the importance of MOOcs for less developed countries/regions. He stressed that in their partner universities in African countries people who have access to MOOCs take them. This makes Africa the leading region in online education.

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