Mauro Calise (Federica Web Learning Centre, University of Naples Federico II, Italy)
Timo Kos (LDE Centre, Netherlands), Oliver Janoschka (Stifterverband, Germany)
Call for Contributions
The focus of the policy track will be on the power of MOOCs, and online education in general, to act as a catalyst for change. Decision-makers at the Institutional, National and European level are invited to contribute with regard to the following challenges in Higher Education:
1. Quality and quantity education at cost for a digital audience
Higher Education Institutions are under pressure from industry to form graduates with the skills and knowledge to match the global jobs market, and from the digital generation to provide an innovative curriculum and learning experience. Meanwhile, reductions in government funding and student enrolments make it imperative for Universities to find alternative business models. Although online delivery may offer some solutions and some policy indicators, it poses challenges regarding use and storage of student data, especially in the light of the European GDPR.
- What is current policy regarding recognition and quality control of online degrees and credentials?
- How should online learning initiatives or new modes of delivery be most effectively implemented at the departmental, institutional or national level?
- What are the policy implications for adoption of data-driven approaches and data analytics for governance and quality assurance?
2. Continuous education & reskilling the European workforce
As the fourth industrial revolution causes many jobs to disappear, and changes the nature of other professions, a knowledge and skills gap is created. We explore how European universities can harness the power of MOOCs to increase the availability and accessibility of continuous professional education to scale the reskilling and upskilling of the European Workforce to address this gap.
- What can Europe learn from high-ranking universities in the USA that have started to offer fully online degree programs at massive scale with open admission policies and low tuition fees on the leading MOOC platforms (Udacity, Coursera, EdX, FutureLearn)?
- What financial and regulatory hurdles should be taken down and what stimuli should be introduced for European universities to develop these types of accessible and low-cost courses and programmes for the reskilling of the current European workforce?
3. International and cross-institutional collaboration for solving real world problems
MOOCs are not only offering better access to (continuous) education, but also provide new opportunities to build education networks and learning communities on a truly global scale. Some universities and their partners have recently undertaken initiatives to explore these possibilities for international and cross-institutional collaboration e.g. the global and European virtual exchange alliance, where universities offer partner MOOCs as for-credit electives, and joint summer courses using MOOCs. These early explorations could point to a future with globally connected networks, sharing online courses and local facilities for real world projects. However, major policy questions remain:
- How can we leverage the abundance of MOOCs for international collaboration between academics, students and others, such as professionals working in businesses and non-profits around the world, to solve challenges like Sustainable Development Goals?
- What other international and interinstitutional collaborations could MOOCs and their platforms support? How could we use the collaborative strengths of the European Higher Education Area, such as the European Qualification Framework (EQF) or Erasmus+, to stimulate these kinds of collaborations?
- What kind of financial and regulatory hurdles should be taken down and what stimuli should be introduced for universities to develop these types of international collaborations to enhance access to each others’ courses or collaborate on real world challenges?