German Rectors’ Conference publishes reader on the potential and problems of MOOCs

13. November 2014

"We must identify the potential and the problems of MOOCs and decide on this basis whether they offer added value for individual universities," says HRK President, Professor Dr. Horst Hippler. To assist universities within this process of orientation and decision-making, HRK now publishes its MOOC-Reader in English. “Due to the importance of the subject and numerous requests of international partners we decided to make our MOOC-Reader available to a broader public,” explains the HRK President.

"MOOCs are very resource-intensive and are therefore not suitable as instruments to save money,” Hippler emphasises. The HRK is in favour of further investigation of the possibilities offered by developing digital teaching formats. These formats include Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

Added values of MOOCs, he continues, might be in marketing, transitional programmes, minor subjects, seminar-like and interdisciplinary content and certain areas in professional development and cooperation with other universities. There are problems and risks in providing open admission, integrating MOOCs in the course of study, the relatively high drop-out rate, data protection and in the legally uncontestable identification of individuals taking examinations.

Those responsible in the universities should ensure that MOOCs are included in the university strategy and oriented towards priorities and target groups. "Universities must investigate whether they offer their digital teaching formats via a commercial platform or use platforms developed by universities or groups of universities," Hippler says.

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