Big Trends In MOOCs

California-based MOOC provider CourseraThe rapid expansion of massive open online courses (MOOCs) has left many in international higher education asking how they can compete. With elite American universities dominating the emerging market, will foreign institutions be left behind?

The California-based MOOC provider Coursera counts eight foreign institutions among its 33 university partners. Meanwhile, 12 universities in the United Kingdom have launched a new MOOC platform of their own. The Open University, a distance education institution based in London, recently announced the formation of Futurelearn in partnership with Cardiff and Lancaster Universities; the Universities of Birmingham, Bristol, East Anglia, Exeter, Leeds, Southampton, St Andrews and Warwick; and King’s College, University of London.

“MOOCs have been dominated to a good degree by U.S. universities and U.S. providers, said Nigel Thrift, vice-chancellor of the University of Warwick. “I think there was a feeling that the British higher education sector is probably second in the world at this point in time and therefore it’s not a massive surprise that it might have a platform that’s based on that success.

Big Trends:

  • Initial marketing material for Futurelearn emphasizes its U.K. identity — asserting that the Britain should be at the forefront of advances in educational technology
  • Courserastarted with only American university partners, but quickly broadened to include foreign institutions: the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and the Universities of British Columbia, Edinburgh, London International Programmes, Melbourne, and Toronto.
  • The École Polytechnique is offering a French-language MOOC (about the computer programming language, Java), Coursera’s first MOOC in a language other than English.
  • Hong Kong University of Science and Technology  , a Coursera partner, already works with four other Hong Kong universities to offer distance education through a platform called Hong Kong Virtual University.
  • edX at this point does not have any foreign university partners, although on its website it expresses interest in exploring possible partnerships with universities from around the world.
  • Udacity  has worked with universities in Austria and Germany to facilitate the awarding of credit for its classes, and this fall signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of Alberta to form a research partnership.

Source : Multinational MOOCs

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