With the rapid development of MOOCs, EUA (the European University Association) published an occasional paper in January 2013 on MOOCs for discussion at the EUA Council, and for information for EUA membership. The present paper aims to provide an update on these developments, particularly as they concern European higher education.
A year ago in MOOC land is almost ancient history. An update to the EUA’s previous report therefore almost reads as something entirely novel. The present version of the report covers several issues. It provides an overview of the well-known international MOOC facilitators, describes their specific characteristics and then goes on to inventory the European reaction to them. According to the report, about one third of all current MOOCs are of European extraction. It then wonders whether there is a specific European dimension to MOOCs and compares them with MOOCs around the globe. Business models are also paid attention to, an area in which the USA and Europe seem to follow a different course: where venture capital plays a major role in the USA, university initiatives and governmental involvement, including that of the European Union, seem to characterise European MOOC development. Then MOOC pedagogy is discussed, also with an eye on the impact MOOCs may have on higher education in Europe. It is of course this last issue which prompted the European University Association to commission the first and this second report.
There seems to be a flurry of reports that take stock of where we stand with respect to MOOCs. When some claim that MOOCS have passed the top of the hype cycle and are heading for the trough of disillusionment, reports like this are certainly useful for historical purposes. But for us now, who lack the benefit of historical hindsight, the present report can help to make up our mind about the direction in which we want to head with MOOCs. Do they spell they end of public higher education? Not according to Europeans, it seems. Are they the latest development in a move towards opening up educational resources? Perhaps, and more so in Europe than in the USA. Are they a boost to the use of technology-enhanced forms of learning in higher education? For sure and everywhere! @pbsloep