This paper is set against the backdrop of the Openness movement and the evolving debate surrounding the growth and future of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in Higher Education (Sharrock, 2015). It briefly reviews some of the opposing positions in response to MOOCs (Brown, 2016) and explores the current rhetoric reality gap between the so-called ‘state of the art’ and the ‘state of the actual’. A number of questions are raised in terms of institutional drivers for MOOCs with a particular emphasis on key differences between Europe and the United States (Schuwer, et. al, 2015). The paper then reports on how over the last 18 months Dublin City University (DCU) has developed its own strategic institutional response to the challenges and opportunities presented by the MOOC movement. In so doing a description of the key drivers, strategic deliberations, and major decision points which informed the thinking at DCU is provided along with an outline of the advantages and disadvantages of different MOOC platforms based on evaluation methodology (Brown, Costello, Donlon & Nic Giolla Mhichil, 2015). In sharing the story of this institutional case study the paper aims to demonstrate the importance of aligning key decisions about how to respond to the MOOC movement with well-defined institutional drivers, which in turn can help to identify the strategic affordances of different MOOC platforms. Moreover, we argue that without a clear understanding of specific institutional drivers and how they relate to wider institutional strategies the definition of success indicators is problematic. In the case of DCU this line of thinking ultimately resulted in a decision to adopt a new MOOC platform that drawing on an ecological perspective (Weller & Anderson, 2013) was deemed to be best suited to meeting our primary driver of helping to foster a teaching and learning culture of innovation and openness. Finally the paper describes the launch of the DCU Open Academy (Brown, Costello, Donlon & Nic Giolla Mhichil, 2016) using this new MOOC platform and the first suite of courses already offered and those under development over 2016. Notably, these courses have a distinctive flavour and were deliberately chosen to support the commemoration of the 1916 Irish Rising along with a better understanding of the Country’s unique culture and heritage. The DCU Open Academy helps to illustrate how this new platform in the MOOC international landscape has the potential to support more locally based initiatives in languages other than just English, which do not rely on current systems largely closed to all but elite institutions.
Brown, M. (2016). MOOCs as social practice: A kaleidoscope of perspectives (pp.31-41). In E. De Corte, L. Enwall, & U. Teichler (Eds.). From Books to MOOCs? Emerging models of learning and teaching in higher education. Wenner-Gren International Series, 88. London: Portland Press.
Brown, M., Costello, E., Donlon, E., & Nic Giolla Mhichil, M. (2016). Moodle in the age of the MOOC: The DCU Open Academy initiative. Paper at MoodleMoot Ireland UK 2016, London: 23rd March.
Brown, M., Costello, E., Donlon, E., & Nic Giolla Mhichil, M. (2015). A strategic response to MOOCs: How one European university is approaching the challenge. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 16, (6), 98-115.
Sharrock, G. (2015). Making sense of the MOOCs debate. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 37, (5), pp. 597-609.
Schuwer, R., Jaurena, I.G., Hakan Aydin, C., Costello, E., Dalsgaard, C., Brown, M., Jansen, D., & Teixeira, A. (2015). Opportunities and threats of the MOOC movement for higher education: The European perspective. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 16, (6), 20-38.
Weller, M., & Anderson, T. (2013). Digital resilience in higher education. European Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 16 (1), 53-66.