Mooc? What’s a Mooc?

Survey reveals online revolution is news to large proportion of European universities

April 13, 2013

More than four in ten European universities have not heard of massive open online courses (Moocs), according to a new report.

A total of 175 institutions took part in a survey conducted to coincide with the European University Association’s annual conference in Ghent on 11-12 April.

The responses reveal that 58 per cent knew what a Mooc was, although 88 per cent wanted to learn more.

Just a third could confirm that Moocs had been discussed at their university, according to the report, Internationalisation in European higher education: European policies, institutional strategies and EUA support.

The vast majority of the questionnaires were filled in by a university’s international office or by senior management.

Other results show that two thirds of institutions are offering more courses in English as part of a strategy to become more international.

The association has also released a report that concludes global university rankings are having a growing impact on institutional strategy and public policy.

Global University Rankings and their Impact: Report 2 says that “arts, humanities and to a large extent the social sciences remain underrepresented in rankings” because citations are undercounted in these subject areas, despite improvements in methodologies.

Rankings also tend to focus on “elite” universities and “thus cannot provide a sound basis for analysing entire higher education systems”.

However, rankings producers are increasingly acknowledging the “biases and flaws” in their data and so warning of the dangers of misusing the league tables, it concludes.

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