Posted on 28/Sep/2015
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For the past two years, Europe has provided between 1/3 and 1/4 of the world MOOCs, although big platforms are based in the US., says Michael Gaebel from the European University Association.


Michael-Gaebel-MOOC-340x214The Digital Post: How Europe is currently performing in terms of MOOCs?

Michael Gaebel: While there is talk that the hype is over, the number of MOOCs is still on rise. 


The Digital Post: Is Europe still lagging behind?

Michael Gaebel: For the past two years, Europe has provided between 1/3 and 1/4 of the world MOOC production. Hence, I would not really see this as staying behind. What is true that the big MOOC platforms and also many of the companies providing services and technology are based in the US. But this is due to economics (availability of venture capital) rather than education.


The Digital Post: How to catch up with this gap? What measures should be launched at European level?

Michael Gaebel: We would not necessarily support to encourage a stronger response to MOOCs. We think MOOCs have played and still play an important role in promoting and mainstreaming e-learning, both within and outside of the institutions. They have been useful in raising awareness and interest, and stimulating a debate on the broader use of e-learning.

However, they are just one particular (and also not so clearly defined) type of digital learning. We believe that it is important to reflect and explore how institutions can make best use of digital learning, and also consider the role of “e” in research, and governance.

Our research shows that institutions care developing strategies and enhance capacities and resources.

National approaches should support these developments, and also support inter-institutional cooperation and synergies, and then there is also the question of how to develop a European dimension, and e.g. use the existing instruments

This concern e.g. Bologna lines and instruments – such as mobility, and there are also legal issues to be considered, such as use of data, copy rights, IPRs etc. The EC has made a good contribution in promoting open access and open educational resources.


Michael Gaebel is the head of the Higher Education Policy Unit, which focuses on issues related to higher education learning and teaching, including the Bologna Process, lifelong learning, e-learning and MOOCs, internationalisation and global dialogue. Before joining EUA, Michael worked for more than a decade in higher education cooperation and development in the Middle East, the former Soviet Union and Asia. From 2002 to 2006, he was the European Co-Director of the ASEAN-EU University Network Programme (AUNP) in Bangkok.


 photo credit: S B F Ryan
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