Best of Ireland: Institutional Innovation and Strategic Reponses to MOOCs: An Irish Case Study
Abstract: What role should governments play in supporting a strategic response to the Massive Online Course (MOOC) movement? This paper describes the growth of MOOCs in Europe as part of the wider Open Education movement and then reports on the Irish experience as a case study to discuss whether or not a more formal policy response is required to harness the potential of new models of online learning. By tracing the history of several first generation Irish initiatives the case study illustrates how in the absence of formal policy different institutions chose to respond to MOOCs. The relatively slow and disconnected response of government agencies and policy-makers is then discussed in the context of a number of high-level policy initiatives. Set against the backdrop of a lack of serious national policy engagement in the development of MOOCs, and Open Education more generally, the paper offers a valuable insider’s perspective into the thinking that has shaped and influenced MOOC initiatives at one Irish University. It reports how this thinking has evolved with the emergence of second-generation MOOC initiatives, which increasingly blur boundaries between formal and non-formal learning. Finally, the paper reflects on the original question and argues that governments have a key role if new models of online learning are to realise the promise of increasing access to, and the level of participation in, flexible life-long learning.
Presider: Kurt Ackermann, Hokusei Gakuen University Junior College