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MOOC Around the World – Our Global List of Distance Learning Resources, Part 2

We’re boarding now for the next leg of our journey exploring MOOCs around the world. In case you’re joining us mid-itinerary, in part 1 we had a whirlwhind three-country tour of distance learning resources from Germany, the U.K. and Ireland. This part will take us back to the continent to introduce MOOC platforms in northern and southern Europe as well as a pan-European platform based in the Netherlands.MOOC Around the World - Global List of Distance Learning, Part 2

FYI, as I explained in part 1, I am including platforms dedicated to providing MOOCs as well as independent courses offered outside of a dedicated platform. I am also including some classes that have already finished if I expect them to be offered again or when the materials have been left open and accessible.

Belgium

In April 2013, Inge Ignatia de Waard published one of the first books about MOOCs. MOOC YourSelf – Set up your own MOOC for Business, Non-Profits, and Informal Communities, available as a Kindle edition, is based on Inge’s experience organizing and running MobiMOOC  in September 2012. MobiMOOC focused on learning and training with mobile devices, also known as mLearning. The goal of the MOOC, which attracted participants from around the world, was

getting you up-to-date with mobile learning and providing you the tools to plan, develop and implement a mobile learning solution in your environment via collaboratively discussing and exchanging knowledge through a variety of learning activities. The course starts with basic concepts of mLearning and goes on to cover a variety of topics related to mLearning.

Eighteen mLearning projects were built during MobiMOOC with the best project chosen by the MOOC participants and awarded with $500.

MobiMOOC has been my favorite MOOC so far, because it provided the chance to create my own project and present it to others for evaluation. The numerous responses were very valuable and greatly helped to improve my work. I also liked Inge’s commitment, outstanding organization and skillful moderation of the MOOC. It was easy to see she put a lot of heart into the MOOC as well as into the book.

Whether there will be a remake of the mobiMOOC is still open, but a gathering called MobiMOOC Knowledge Sharing Festival is planned for 2013 and will run for 2 weeks, free to all. The mLearning workshops might interest you, though those have a fee. For more information please visit the MobiMOOC wiki.

Another Belgian MOOC in French is MOOC ReSoP , which stands for Réseaux Sociaux Comme Outils Pedagogiques, or Social Networks as Pedagogical Tools, which was produced by the Belgian organization Pedago-TIC. It ran from February to April earlier this year, and there’s no word yet on when it may run again.

Netherlands

The University of Amsterdam (UvA) launched their first MOOC with Introduction to Communication Science (which Patrica van der Linden reviewed for this site.)  The free eight-week English–language course will start again in September 2013, delivering video lectures on every aspect of communication, from history and theory to the influence of the media on society. Here is an extract from the course description:

Since antiquity, scholars have appreciated the importance of communication: as social beings, we cannot exist without communication. We need to interact with people around us to make sense of the world and to position ourselves in a wider social and cultural reality. This course explores some of the basic theories, models and concepts from the fields of mass, interpersonal and intrapersonal communication.

A European grand tour

The Netherlands will serve as our home base for a grand tour of European MOOCs. The “first pan-European” MOOC platform, OpenupEd.eu, was launched April 25 at Open Universities in the Netherlands.

Deciding on a MOOC

by Claudio Zoncheddu via 500px

OpenupEd.eu  is a multi-institutional European MOOC platform with partners in 11 countries: France, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, U.K., Russia, Turkey and Israel. Each partner is offering courses via its own distance learning platform, and at least some are in the home language of each university. The current choices includes the 11 languages of the partners, plus Arabic.

Around 40 courses, covering a variety of subjects ranging from mathematics, economics, e-commerce, climate change, cultural heritage, corporate social responsibility and the modern Middle East, will be available free of charge. Some of the courses use the “synchronous” model, and some are self-paced.

All courses may lead to recognition: a completion certificate, a badge or a credit certificate that may count toward a degree. In the latter case, students have to pay for the certificate, with the cost ranging from €25 to €400, depending on the length of the course and institution.

Now that we’ve tried the all-inclusive tour, let’s linger awhile in some of these countries. Next stop . . . .

France

ENACO online business school launched the first MOOC devoted to intercultural management in Europe. The course, en francais, titled Les Clés du Management Interculturel en Europe, will be facilitated by Mr. Kraki, professor and doctoral student in political science, specializing in international relations and the European Union. After an introduction starting May 14, anyone can pre-register for the session starting in September. The three-week course will consist of videos, educational materials and assessments, and you need to pass the final exam to earn a certificate.

Télécom Bretagne, an Institut Mines-Télécom school, is launching its own online training platform in order to promote the mass dissemination of knowledge. Xavier Lagrange, Gwendal Simon and Alexander Pelov will be the professors for the first MOOC, which is on the subject of mobile networks. If you’ve always wanted to know how your mobile network functions, Introduction to Cellular Networks might interest you. The MOOC started April 2 and will end mid-July. The course material provided by Télécom Bretagne is an introduction to the basic principles of wireless networks and mobile networks, the core subject of telecommunications. Google donated $25,000 to the Télécom Bretagne research teams to develop open-source tools that can be integrated into its own platform, Coursebuilder.

ITyPA  (Internet Everything Is To Learn), about the dynamics of the Web, and ABCs of Project Management are two other distance learning opportunities offered recently by the Institut. A student of the Project Management MOOC wrote a review of the course for this site.

Spain

Mooc.es is a Spanish-language search engine that helps readers find MOOCs around the world, including on many of the platforms we’ve looked at and on others that we’ll get to later, as well as on the familiar platforms from the U.S. Aside from providing course descriptions in Spanish, the main advantage of this site is that it allows you to sort among its database by language, so you can find all the MOOCs in Spanish and also sort for classes in Portuguese, German, French and English.

Crypt4you is a Spanish MOOC initiative, directed by Dr. Jorge Ramió and Dr. Alfonso Munoz at the Polytechnic University of Madrid. Crypt4you offers free cryptography online course for programmers. The aim of Crypt4you is to become the e-learning reference for cryptography and information security in the Spanish language. Right now, they are running a course on privacy and protection of digital communications.

Miriada X appears to be the ultimate Spanish-language distance learning resource. Created by Universia and Telefonica Learning Services, the platform works with 1,241 partner universities from 23 countries in Latin America representing 15.3 million students and academics. Miriada X provides a platform for teachers or teaching teams of any Latin American university to create and deliver 0pen online courses accessible to everyone free of charge. The courses range from Astronomy to Humanities to Sociology.

By the way, we’ll discuss some more Spanish-language MOOCs in part 3 of this series when we visit Latin America.

Portuguese and Brazilian distance learning

MOOC EaD, the first MOOC in Portuguese, is on the subject of distance learning. It’s a joint venture between Portugal and Brazil with the shared vision of democratizing education and reducing inequalities in Portuguese-speaking countries. It’s a joint venture between the Graduate Program in Technologies of Intelligence and Digital Design and the Brazilian Association of Distance Education. They say they want to avoid inflexible structured models and view the MOOC as an interactive, experience-oriented, collaborative knowledge construction.

The MOOC EaD started with the collaborative creation of a page on Facebook and in Google docs that recounts and discusses the history of distance learning. The course blog serves as place to discuss different models of distance education. YouTube videos and other resources are also integrated into the blog. The MOOC continues to explore the pedagogical use of various tools like Twitter, Diigo, Pinterest, Scoop.it and Storify. Asynchronous and synchronous activities in Google Hangouts are conducted. Different views on the future of distance education are collaboratively compiled using MediaWiki.

Universidade Aberta (UAb.pt) is a Portuguese Open University, created in 1988, whose newest project is iMOOC, offered in cooperation with OpenupEd, which we discussed above. The Open University promotes Portuguese language and culture. Its focus is on the humanities, social sciences and behavioral sciences, and its vision is “to close the gap between people and academic life, integrating it in the dynamics of society” by offering MOOCs. iMOOC’s first class is #imoocac13: Climate change – The Context of Life Experiences, which started May 6.

Universidade Aberta claims to be the first university to develop a pedagogy specifically for MOOCs. They describe its pillars as learner-centeredness, flexibility, interaction and digital inclusion, combining, “autonomous and self-directed learning with a strong social dimension and the flexibility that distance online learners need with the pacing necessary to help them get things done.” The ‘i’ in iMOOCs stand for individual responsibility, interaction, interpersonal relationships, innovation and inclusion.

An interesting approach of iMOOC is that each course start with a so-called “bootcamp” module that can last one or two weeks. It serves as orientation for participants to get familiar with the environment, tools and services, but also to get acquainted with online communication and cooperation. Participants who want to receive a certificate of completion of the course will be assessed through a peer-review system. Every assessment will be based on a detailed rubric provided by the professor or professors leading the course. UAb.pt awards formal credits for iMOOC classes for a fee.

Time to rest before moving on

I make no claim that our tour of European MOOCs has been complete. I’m sure we’ve missed some hidden treasures along the way that locals and seasoned travelers know about. So please use the comments section below to share any other good MOOCs I’ve missed in Europe. Unlike with actual tourism, there’s no risk of spoiling a good spot by making it too popular. With distance learning resources, the more, the merrier.

In the meantime, take a few days to explore the sights. We’ll depart early next week for Australia where some of the most interesting new MOOCs are being developed. Please come come along with us to see how the MOOC journey around the world continues in part 3.

Sylvia Moessinger (8 Posts)

I am a vocational teacher for healthcare with a great interest in Education 2.0, i.e. innovative and pedagogically sound application from Web 2.0 technology in teaching and learning. I achieved my Bachelor's in Health (Hons) 2009 and Master's in Online and Distance Education (MAODE) 2011 at the Open University. With my additional studying I wanted to improve my professional knowledge, adjust to the ongoing developments in technology-enhanced learning. After my study I started a part-time job as research assistant at the VCRP to apply my knowledge and learn more about the pedagocial and technical aspects of elearning. I am also a great fan of cMOOCs and particpated in the #OPCO12, MobiMOOC and the #COER13.


8 Comments

  1. Thank you for the complete set of these wonderful MOOC around the world articles Sylvia. They are just amazing! The time it must take you to get all of them found, written… and thank you so much for your kind words. I really appreciate it a lot. Already looking forward to all your articles.

  2. Thanks for your kind words Inge. Yes, it was quite a lot of work to find all the MOOC platforms, but absolutely worth doing it and I learned a lot. But I had some support from Robert McGuire the initiator of this website. There is a fourth article being planned on lesser-known American platforms and I/we will update the list of MOOC platforms constantly. So please let us know in case you plan a second MobiMOOC or another MOOC. I would be first to sign in :-)

  3. Thanks for both mention on #moocead and #imoocac13.
    I was one of the mentors of #moocead (with @joaomattar from Brazil) and now I’m on the #imoocac13 team.

    • I tried to cover as much MOOC platforms as I could find :-) Please keep us/me posted about any new courses and developments. MOOC News & Reviews is always looking for writers, so maybe you consider writing about your experience from the perspective of a mentor, which would be interesting.

  4. I’ve been teaching for 37 years and doing my best to allow my students the freedom to learn as I wish my teachers had done with me. I love the cMOOCs because they allow me to connect for learning in meaningful and socially engaging ways. What I find disturbing is that the xMOOCs are forcing back the traditional teach content to the test model. Are we never going to leave the industrial robotic way of relating to education? I would like to see education focus on people and the passion for learning on ground and/or online.

    I have organized 2 cMOOCs on WizIQ: Facilitating online teaching: http://www.wiziq.com/course/4264-teaching-online and the first Moodle MOOC http://www.wiziq.com/course/20705-teaching-with-moodle

    • Hallo Nellie,

      I so agree with you that cMOOC’s concentrate more social – they favor communication and collaboration and like you said they focus on people. Though, my MOOC journey brought me to some interesting platforms that contrast to the typical, often self-paced xMOOCs. It shows that MOOC definitions blur as described in the article from Juliana Marques and Robert McGuire ‘What is a Massive Open Online Course Anyway? MN+R Attempts a Definition’.
      What is a Massive Open Online Course Anyway? MN+R Attempts a Definition’

      When I read your name, I thought I know you from somewhere. Reading that you organize cMOOCs on WizIQ, it triggered my memory. I signed in for the Moodle course, though I am running badly behind, because I am preparing for the next parts of my ‘MOOC around the globe’ series. You, respectively WizIQ already have a place in it. I saw that WizIQ is located in Raleigh – Raleigh in NC?

      See you in the Moodle MOOC soon. I need to get a start to learn more about Moodle, as I still struggle with basic problems. See you soon.

  5. Thank you for such useful information. Just started on my journey of higher education, always looking for ways to learn online when not studying for my own bachelor. Nice to see someone make such an effort to find and share so much about MOOCs.

    • Thanks Aditya for your kind words. During my study in Online and Distance Education with the OU I came around Georg Siemens and Stephen Downes the founders of the first MOOC in 2008. Though I was familiar with online study I was curious how such a massive online course would work. It took a while until I started my first MOOC, but since then I am infected ;-)

      Good luck for your study and stay tuned as more parts of my series will follow soon.

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