New commitment to MOOCs in Asia-Pacific to enhance higher education quality and access
As ICT opens new digital worlds for educators and learners, there is a growing commitment to develop high-quality Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in Asia-Pacific. Given increased demand for quality higher education and training in the region, MOOCs and blended learning are important means to ensure equitable access to quality higher education and lifelong learning opportunities for all. However, there are concerns about the gap in ICT use that may cause more serious social polarisation in the future.
To explore these issues, delegates and stakeholders from nearly 30 countries met in Shenzhen, P.R. China for the Asia-Pacific Regional Seminar on MOOCs for Higher Education: Seizing digital opportunities to achieve SDG4 (11-12 June 2018). As a result of the seminar, UNESCO Bangkok identified two important areas of work to accelerate progress in Asia-Pacific:
- Launching an Asia-Pacific Network on MOOCs to achieve SDG4 – UNESCO will prepare a new open network to promote information sharing and technical assistance to countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region (a detailed concept note will be shared via the listserv linked to below).
- Developing collaborative research on innovative policies and practices on MOOCs in Asia-Pacific – During the regional seminar, stakeholders agreed on the need to take stock of how MOOCs are used in Asia-Pacific, including how these courses are recognized and quality-assured. The scope and draft research framework will be prepared based on five levels of need:
- Policy level and quality assurance agencies
- MOOC platforms
- Institutional/training providers
- Youth and adult learners
- Cross-sector partnerships
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