The paper contributes to this debate by undertaking a macro-level policy analysis of the strategic drivers that influence institutional decisions to adopt MOOCs. It shows that relatively few universities around the world currently offer MOOCs; and more to the point, the goal of fostering a culture of Open Educational Practices (OEPs) does not figure highly in strategic drivers. Nevertheless, the number of MOOCs being offered in Europe is steadily growing (Open Education Europa, 2015) and there is evidence that many institutions are planning to develop MOOCs in the future (Jansen & Schuwer, 2015). While recent surveys help to identify and compare many of the macro-level drivers supporting current MOOC initiatives, there remains an important gap in the literature. We lack a deeper understanding of how individual institutions go about weighing up the competing drivers shaping the future of Open Learning.
To address this gap a case study is reported based on the experiences of those charged with developing a strategic institutional response to MOOCs. At this micro-level we critically reflect on the key drivers, strategic deliberations and major decision points over the past two years, and then offer an institutionally contextualised analysis of different MOOC platforms. More specifically, the paper describes the types of strategic planning tools that have been used to help research and scaffold evaluations of the affordances and fit for purpose of different MOOC options. The importance of clearly articulating specific institutional drivers, which may (or may not) support a strategic investment in MOOCs, and OEPs more generally is emphasised. The need to strategically anchor these drivers in evidence cannot be understated, especially given the hype and hope associated with the MOOC movement. Finally, the paper offers a number of guiding questions that may help other institutions to shape their own future in such uncertain times.
Barlow, A. (2014). Just another colonist tool? In S. Krause & C. Lowe (Eds.), Invasion of the MOOCs: The promise and perils of massive open online courses (pp. 73-85). San Francisco: Parlor Press.
Jansen, D., & Schuwer, R. (2015). Instructional MOOC strategies in Europe: Status report based on a mapping survey conducted in October – December 2014. European Association for Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU), Brussels.
Open Education Europa. (2015). European MOOC scoreboard. Available from http://www.openeducationeuropa.eu/en/european_scoreboard_moocs
Selwyn, N., Bulfin, S., & Pangrazio, L. (2015). Massive open online change? Exploring the discursive construction of the ‘MOOC’ in newspapers. Higher Education Quarterly, 69 (2), 175-192.