Partners from 11 countries, including the UK’s Open University, have signed up to OpenupEd, which currently provides access to around 40 free courses in 12 different languages.
Supported by the European Commission, the site contains a database of courses ranging from mathematics to fiction writing, with each partner institution offering its courses via its own website.
Androulla Vassiliou, European commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism and youth, said he hoped the project would “open up education to tens of thousands of students” and encourage European universities to adopt “more innovative and flexible” teaching methods.
“The Moocs movement has already proved popular, especially in the US, but this pan-European launch takes the scheme to a new level. It reflects European values such as equity, quality and diversity and the partners involved are a guarantee for high-quality learning,” he added.
The OpenupEd site has university partners in France, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, UK, Russia, Turkey and Israel. Courses are available in all of the countries’ native languages, and Arabic, and range from 20 to 200 hours of study.
All courses may lead to recognition such as a completion certificate or a credit certificate that may count towards a degree. In the latter case, students have to pay for the certificate, with the cost ranging from €25 to €400 (£20 to £340), depending on the hours of study involved and the institution.
EADTU president Will Swann, formerly director of students at the Open University, said: “The pan-European Moocs initiative shows our collective passion to further innovate. We look to expand with a growing range of courses from the launch partners, and we will welcome new partners from across the world who share our vision and practice of flexible, responsive higher education.”
OpenupEd launch partners:
Anadolu University (Turkey)
Kaunas University of Technology (Lithuania)
Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche (France)
Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Informatics (Russia)
Open Universiteit Nederland (Netherlands)
the Open University of Israel
Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (Spain)
Universidade Aberta (Portugal)
Università Telematica Internazionale UNINETTUNO (Italy)
the Open University (UK)