MOOCs march across the globe
It seems that ProctorU is not the only education firm with an eye on international students these days. With our upcoming attendance at EDEN 2013 in Oslo, Norway, it is interesting to note that the latest development in the world of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) highlights their expansion into the global market. A recent article posted on Inside Higher Ed highlights an initiative by The Open University, based in the United Kingdom, to develop its own MOOC platform called Futurelearn. This effort, focused on ensuring that Britain maintains a presence at the forefront of developments in the field of education, is indicative of a trend echoed by the three big US-based companies: Coursera, Udacity and edX. These firms have been courting partnerships with international universities for some time now. Perhaps the most initially striking aspect of the UK endeavor is its forward-thinking moniker which embodies the hopes of those involved in MOOC development and administration. Rather than casual observation and musing, it seems that The Open University truly does believe that MOOCs represent the future of education, which is a future accessible to all and facilitated by advances in technology.
In addition to the new players emerging on the global stage, the American MOOC providers are extending their reach further than ever. Coursera is even offering its first MOOC in a language other than English. Having partnered with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, it is now offering a course in computer programming that is being conducted in French. Indeed the MOOC phenomenon is increasingly living up to what was expected of it at inception, that is, to become a globally-sustained revolution in how potential learners access education.