Going Global with MOOCs

Going Global with MOOCs

In a remarkably short time, MOOCs (massive open online courses) have opened new doors to learning across the globe. This fall marks two years since the first MOOCs launched, and today, the MOOC world is expanding into a global network, reaching an audience more universal than ever before. The MOOC movement has seen extraordinary growth in just two years. MOOCs have brought free and open access to content, the world’s best instructors, and a diverse community of fellow learners to millions of people from hundreds of countries. But the MOOC network does more than reach a global audience; it has also become a source of global courses, too. Much of this year’s growth in MOOCs is from an upsurge in worldwide providers.

[Find MOOCs from Kaplan Open Learning.]

International institutions that offer MOOCs and internationally hosted platforms are on the rise. American MOOC providers are partnering with international universities to host courses from across the globe in dozens of languages. In October, the latest expansions in the MOOC global network came from Coursera,one of the leading American providers, and iversity, a new German player on the MOOC stage. iversity officially opened its virtual doors October 15th, launching its first course in Contemporary Architecture. iversity currently offers 24 courses in English and German and has plans to expand. Upcoming courses feature Design 101 taught by a fashion designer in Milan, Public Privacy: Cyber Security and Human Rights, and true to its German roots, a three-part series on Vehicle Dynamics.

[Click here for a list of all iversity courses.]

On October 23rd, Coursera announced its newest partnerships with 12 international institutions from 10 different countries. New courses will be offered from countries including China, Denmark, Italy, Spain, and Russia, as well as many more. Coursera has been a leader in globalizing MOOC course offerings and has steadily added international partners and multiple language options for more than a year. With its latest partnerships, Coursera now offers MOOCs in 11 languages in addition to English, including the upcoming Traditional Chinese Medicine and Chinese Culture course in Chinese and Financial Markets and Institutions in Russian.

[Read: Check out our advice for choosing a MOOC that’s right for you.]

In a post on the company’s blog, Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller notes that this expansion to international MOOC courses provides “students everywhere access to an even more diverse set of perspectives” and “also the breadth of languages in which courses are delivered.” Globalizing MOOCs erases the borders that confine what we learn and the languages we learn in. It opens the door to non-English-speaking audiences and gives learners worldwide more choices and wider perspectives. Learning across a global MOOC network fulfills the promise of MOOCs on an even greater scale. Designed to drive equitable learning opportunities—learning that anyone can do anywhere—the MOOC movement continues to enhance the pursuit of knowledge and eliminate traditional barriers to learning.

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