EAIE2014 (VIII). A MOOC Revolution? Strategic Considerations and Lessons Learned

Notes from the 26th Annual EAIE Conference, held in Prague, Czech Republic, on 16-19 September 2014. More notes on this event: eaie2014.

A MOOC Revolution? Strategic Considerations and Lessons Learned
Chair: Anni Soborg, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Amy Woodgate, University of Edinburgh, UK

6 courses (wave 1) + 8 courses (wave 2) + more (circa 30 a year). Broad subject areas. Fully online, free to take, OER licensed with CC.

MOOCs implicitly aimed at capacity building for the faculty, to know what it’s out there, to exchange knowledge, to see “what is out there”.


  • Small amount of direct income to reinvest into MOOC development.
  • Capacity building on online learning
  • Knowledge exchange
  • development of new online delivery methods
  • Research outputs; strengthened the University’s development areas.
  • Lots of fun.


  • Get to new audiences.
  • Respond to an external need.
  • Widen participation.
  • Showcasing Edinburgh’s strengths.
  • Pedagogical innovation.

Usage of the MOOC:

  • Research.
  • Capacity.
  • Materials.

What have we learned

  • MOOCs themselves have no business models: you have to attach one to them, if you want to.
  • Best things are built and grown together.
  • Academic staff need multi-dimensional support.
  • Digital literacies should never be assumed.
  • The power of fun should never be underestimated.

Trine Sand, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Why join a MOOC platform?

  • Better education.
  • Sharing knowledge.
  • International recruitment.
  • Continuing education.
  • Platform to highlight UCPH research.

How to get started? Have a keen ambassador to lead the project.

  • Steering committee: faculty-based decision-making.
  • Coursera unit: platform and production experts, pilot project and assessment of the pilot project.
  • University Education Services: political context and overall UCPH strategies.

A MOOC is a perfect tool for going international.

Profile: 268,868 learners; 40% full time employed; 60% with BA or MA degree; North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

MOOCs have the potential to facilitate changes, to reflect on what we are doing.

Rahul Choudaha, World Education Services, USA

Cautions on predictions and choices. What will happen with MOOCs? Embrace or avoid?

Georgia Tech, Udacity and AT&T issued an Online Master of Science in Computer Science that blended a degree with a MOOC. It was the regular degree, online, and at 10% its cost.

Strategy renders choices about what not to do as important as choices about what to do.


Q: evolution or revolution? Woodgate: more an evolution than a revolution [IMHO she’s talking about xMOOCs and definitely not about cMOOCs.

Q: what is the cost of the MOOC? Sand: it has a cost, but it is an investment, not an expenditure. But yes, a good amount of money is involved, especially if you take into account the cost of the lots of time that people put into the course.

Q: how do you manage admissions? Woodgate: we distinguished students from learners. Learners just freely access (and follow) the MOOC for the sake of it. If you want credit, and you will pursue assessment, then you’re a student, and you will have to go through the usual admissions process. Sand: both models, MOOC and regular degrees, are not mixed. They both have their own processes, channels, platforms, etc.

Q: how do you know the person that took the test is the one that they say they are? Woodgate: the certificate at the end is just a statement of a completion of a course, not a “real” certificate. We sacrificed the obtention of a “real” certificate in benefit of other aspects: easing access, promoting engagement and exchange, etc.


26th Annual EAIE Conference (2014)

EAIE2014 (VII). Returns on higher education and labour market linkages: latest OECD findings

Notes from the 26th Annual EAIE Conference, held in Prague, Czech Republic, on 16-19 September 2014. More notes on this event: eaie2014.

Returns on higher education and labour market linkages: latest OECD findings
Chair: Anna Glass, OECD, France

Adam Krcal, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic, Czech Republic

Why a need for developing a quality framework?

  • Massive expansion of higher education.
  • Greater diversity in terms of study programmes.
  • Broader spread of institutions’ social missions.
  • Different types of provision to meet the needs of new student populations: distant learning programmes, changing labour patterns, re-skilling needs…
  • Decentralization process in Higher Education: greater and broader autonomy.
  • Chang in internal structure of Higher Education systems: more diversified, bigger institutions, budget constraints.

What is "quality" in higher education? How can we monitor it? How can we assure it?

Three main purposes of a quality framework: acountability, transparency and improvement.

Patricia Mangeol, OECD/IMHE, France

There is an increase of students in Higher Education in the OECD, which also implies upward or downward social mobility in relationship with their parents —usually upward mobility is greater than downward mobility, though the latter is existent all across the OECD.

People coming out of higher education have more/better skills in terms of literacy than those with lower levels of education. But the performance in different education levels varies quite a lot across the OECD. E.g. in the US the gap between the top and the bottom is huge. On the other hand, the top level of performance is different between countries. E.g. in Japan +30% of their higher education graduates score highest in literacy, while in Spain only less of 10% do.

Individuals with Higher Education are more employed and earn more —of course, as an aggregate.

More education is related with stating being in good health, having a say in government, volunteering at least once a month, or reporting that one can trust others. Education has strong social returns.

Is the investment in education worth? Yes, but the return of the investment —as measured in net present value— varies between the private and the public net returns. Normally, private returns are higher than public returns. But, in any case, both public and private returns are positive and generally not small.

What happened with the crisis?

In general, it impacted negatively (with more unemployment) the lowest levels of education, not that much in secondary educatino and very very much less for highly educated people.

The crisis did not only impact people putting them out of their jobs, but also the public expenditure on education. In general, though, most countries kept on spending (as a % of the GDP) on education institutions despite the fall of GDP [comment: this indicator is misleading, as some countries did cut on education expenditure, but as their GDPs dropped, the ratio still looks as they did increase the expenditure on education].


26th Annual EAIE Conference (2014)

EAIE2014 (VI). Should your institution join the online exodus?

Notes from the 26th Annual EAIE Conference, held in Prague, Czech Republic, on 16-19 September 2014. More notes on this event: eaie2014.

Should your institution join the online exodus?
Chair: Carl Holmberg, ICDE – International Council for Open and Distance Education, Norway

Technology disrupted education in general, but most especially distance education, which embraced ICTs to enhance interaction, delivering content, etc.

On the other hand, campus-based universities began to extend their action by using e-learning, virtual campuses, etc. thus creating blended learning.

The pervasive and increasingly intensive usage of ICTs of the new generations of students is creating a new type of student that learns from home —distance learner— or from anywhere —mobile learner—, somehow forcing universities to bring together distance education and traditional education. Thus, blended learning is becoming the norm.

Chripa Schneller, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, Germany

“Impact of Distance Education on Adult Learning“ project.

71% of higher education organizations already provide some kind of distance education, plus a 9% of organizations that are 100% distance education universities. Distance education is not a marginal activity, and it has been adopted for many reasons, many of them related with pedagogical purposes like providing better methodologies, leveraging the potential of technology, etc.

Distance education is mainly provided at the masters level (56%) or in single courses (26%), and just rarely at the bachelors level (12%).

  • Why do institutions deliver distance education?
  • To provide more flexible learning opportunities (83%).
  • Demand from (potential) students (43%).
  • To attract adult learners (40%).
  • To experiment with innovative pedagogy (34%).
  • To reduce costs (11%).

Barriers to online teaching and learning:

  • Additional effort
  • Lack of acceptance by academic staff.
  • More discipline to succeed (students).

Joran van Aart, StudyPortals, Netherlands

What is the profile of online learners?

Employment: 50% full time, 19% part time, 31% none. Main reason: combine with job or family.

Completed & current degree level: 35% have a bachelors degree and 64% are studing a/another bachelor degree.

Age is higher than on-campus universities. Only 7-8% are younger than 24y.o.

Should you join the online exodus?

  • Higher Education student numbers expected to grow fast.
  • People are looking for flexible, lifelong learning.
  • Distance Education offers flexible learning an can facilitate HE growth.
  • Many DE programmes provided by "traditional" campus-based universities.
  • University leadeship across Euopre believes DE will grow significantly.


Ismael Peña-López: will this online exodus be led by universities… or other actors? Carl Holmberg: It is very likely that this online exodus will also be populated by new actors. Their success or level of competition will depend on the conditions of the market: whether other actors have a supply that fills the demand, what is the price policy (e.g. free public education), etc.


26th Annual EAIE Conference (2014)

EAIE2014 (V). Internationalise your curriculum through virtual mobility

Notes from the 26th Annual EAIE Conference, held in Prague, Czech Republic, on 16-19 September 2014. More notes on this event: eaie2014.

Internationalise your curriculum through virtual mobility
Chair: Bernard Smeenk, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

Sander Schroevers, Hogeschool Van Amsterdam, Netherlands

Globalisation is what students will find once they graduate: we have to provide the students with a suitable tool-box.

For a virtual mobility project some steps must be taken: manage the expectations of the partners, select communication technologies, put up a team of international lecturers, choice the subject of work, agree on how and what to assess and qualify, etc.

Virtual mobility programmes offer an incredible opportunity for developing informal learning.

Ulrik Bisgaard, Business Academy Aarhus, Denmark

Use social media that students already use for communication, exchange of information.

Offer support online to students, including online access to learning materials.

Why so few teachers use this technology to support and foster virtual mobility?

If we add business cases and virtual learning we can come up with virtual work placements where students can virtually (online) collaborate with remote (even foreign) businesses. Common tools like Facebook or Dropbox are very useful in this virtual work placements.


Virtual mobility is more about coaching than teaching: facilitating.

Finding leaders, motivated people that can start such a project and make it happen. Perseverance.

Technical support is crucial even if the technology used is sometimes a simple or common one.


26th Annual EAIE Conference (2014)

EAIE2014 (IV). E-supervision: a new tool for enhancing PhD education in Africa

Notes from the 26th Annual EAIE Conference, held in Prague, Czech Republic, on 16-19 September 2014. More notes on this event: eaie2014.

E-supervision: a new tool for enhancing PhD education in Africa
Nadja Gmelch, Associació Catalana D´Universitats Públiques, Spain; Ismael Peña-López, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain

e-Supervision: enhancing the international debate.
Ismael Peña-López

[click here to enlarge]

E-supervision – a new approach to supervision of international doctoral candidates? Opportunities and challenges.
Nadja Gmelch


  • Digital identity and visibility.
  • International network.
  • Open access.
  • Peer to peer supervision.
  • Cotutelle.
  • Co-creation of knowledge.


  • Recognition and accreditation.
  • Incentives.
  • Quality assurance.
  • Change in mindset.
  • Leadership.


What to use? The problem is not readiness, but capacity building on tools, protocols, procedures.

There already are (offline) practices to engage in a community, but at the very local (department) level. How to scale that? How to open these (closed) practices out to the world?

Virtual campuses and the digitization of universities are good starting points for e-supervision.

Communities are for sure a good strategy. But it is not that easy to build a community and, especially, to facilitate it.

Reluctance to share research
Reluctance of some students to be online

A shared blogs to engage with other students and help them

Incentives have an impact on quality.
Openness may have an impact on recognition of ownership of the results/ideas.
How much of the content you are producingwas actually created by you… and what portion by the extended commumity? What is your marginal contribution?
– happens everytime, e.g. at lunch
– at least online there’s a trace of who said what

It is not more important who provided a piece of information, but the outcome of the whole group.
We should redefine publishing

Some guidelines of what is research in the XXIst century would help.


26th Annual EAIE Conference (2014)

EAIE2014 (III). Social media content curation: tips, tricks and winning strategies

Notes from the 26th Annual EAIE Conference, held in Prague, Czech Republic, on 16-19 September 2014. More notes on this event: eaie2014.

Social media content curation: tips, tricks and winning strategies
Chair: Jessica Winters, University of Groningen, Netherlands

What is good content? How to find good content? What to post where?

Mandy Reinig, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, USA

What is content curation? search, filter, sort and present content.

  1. Spot it
  2. Stock it
  3. Share it

Curation is manually sourcing and posting content relevant to your niche and audience, while aggregation is automated feeds/content collected from using key words/phrases. Content curation takes more time.

Kellie McMullin, Nova Scotia Community College, Canada

Content curation strategy:

  • Who is your target audience? Knowing your audience, their interests, is key.
  • What are your goals? You have to have them, so that you can measure your performance and your impact: contact, inform, customer service, recruitment, branding, etc.
  • What types of sources do you want to draw from?
  • What content collection tools do you want to use?
  • How often will you check for new content? It depends on the platform and, especially, on the goals. Consistency is key.
  • Who will check for new content? It is not as important the who but consistency in who is in charge of it. Using students can be a good bet, as they often are the target audience themselves, are savvy on social media use.
  • How often will you post the content?

Jessica Winters, University of Groningen, Netherlands

Posting on Facebook:

  • Best length is 80 characters or less (80-130 characters). The goal is to tease the user to click on the link, not to make them read the whole stuff on Facebook.
  • Visual: add a picture or a good video.
  • As questions.
  • Be authentic, be honest.
  • Quality, not quantity. It is better to post once a day a good thing than posting noise several times a day.
  • Content: pride (being a student at the uni, stuff about the university, local/regional news/information), current events (only the relevant ones), college-humor, student-related, famous people.

It is important to identify one’s social ambassadors.

Kellie McMullin, Nova Scotia Community College, Canada

Content curation tools: how to choose the right tool for you? It depends on your goals, your audience and the form of content (pictures, videos, articles) that you want.

List of content curation tools
  • Keep content simple. Simple things is what people will read.
  • Be real and relevant.
  • Post your passion. Don’t post because something has to be posted.
  • Student-produced material. And tag the students’ content!
  • Contests.

Jessica Winters, University of Groningen, Netherlands

If you aim at recruiting international students, you have to be on the social media that they are using, the sites that are popular in their respective countries, with their cultural codes, in their language.

Using Hootsuite as a content curation tool, not only for social media, but also to follow/subscribe to RSS feeds.


Q: What about sponsord posts on Facebook? Winters: they work a little bit better than regular posts, but not too much. You can do that every now and then, it is not very expensive, but it is not terrific.

Ismael Peña-López: what about content produced by faculty members? Winters: the problem with this content is not quality —which is good— but the focus, which is usually too narrow and addressed to a very specific/specialized audience.

Q: What about trolls? Winters: we usually ignore them and, in fact, students themselves will many times fight them back.


26th Annual EAIE Conference (2014)