Fostering Quality in MOOCs: A European Approach

C.M. Stracke, Cleo Sgouropoulou, Bill Vassiliadis, Achilles Kameas, Antonio Moreira Texeira, Maria do Carmo Texeira Pinto

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Article in proceedingAcademicpeer-review


    Societal, educational and personal changes have brought Open (Online) Education in the forefront of the global learning setting. One of the most significant challenges behind the EU Modernization Agenda is for education to respond to the characteristics of future students and to new needs in society. According to the Europe 2020 agenda, 40% of young people should complete higher education studies by 2020. The entire European university sector witnesses an increase of student numbers. Conventional learning methods are suboptimal solutions for these massive student numbers. Thus, important questions and issues arise: How can we anticipate increasing student numbers combined with the likelihood of lower funding? How should we combine online and traditional formats to devise sustainable university business-models? In order to address these challenges Europe is investing in flexible educational solutions as this is embraced by the EC in its Open Educational Resource (OER) agenda. During the last years Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) became very popular: Since the year 2008, when the first MOOC was provided, the number of MOOCs is constantly increasing. The year 2012 was considered as the "Year of the MOOCs". However, MOOCs and OER are a good solution as long as they retain a certain level of quality. So far, experience and practice are leading to an increasing debate about their quality as an educational tool. The high drop-out rates of MOOCs that are typically measured in traditional distance education courses as well as in all formal education settings are discussed causing requests for rebooting MOOCs and the research on them and their quality.
    This article addresses the open issue of integration of quality approaches and mechanisms into the design of MOOCs through the development of a European MOOC Quality Reference Framework (QRF). The MOOC QRF provides a generic, organisation-wide system to help Higher Education Institutions and external stakeholders to design, develop, monitor, evaluate and improve the effectiveness of MOOCs along with the quality management practices. Based on flexible, configurable quality criteria and indicative descriptors, monitoring and reporting is adapted to organisational needs. The article presents the structure and quality dimensions of the MOOC QRF. It is based on the first international quality standard ISO/IEC 40180 and currently submitted to the European and international standardization committee (CEN TC 353 and IOS/IEC JTC1 SC36) for approval as first quality standard for MOOCs. The MOOC QRF is practical to encompass a wide range of approaches to quality assurance emphasizing that it is the quality of the outcomes that matters most in the design of MOOCs, thus leading to a new era of learning experiences in Europe.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 17th European Conference on e-Learning
    Subtitle of host publicationCo-hosted by the University of West Attica, Greece and the Hellenic Air Force Academy (HAFA) 1-2 November 2018
    EditorsAntonios Andreatos, Cleo Sgouropoulou, Klimis Ntalianis
    Place of PublicationAthens
    PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International Ltd.
    Number of pages6
    ISBN (Electronic)9781510874626
    ISBN (Print)978-1-912764-07-5
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018
    Event17th European Conference on e-Learning - University of West Attica, Athens, Greece
    Duration: 1 Nov 20182 Nov 2018


    Conference17th European Conference on e-Learning
    Abbreviated titleECEL 2018


    • Global MOOC Quality Survey
    • Massive Online Open Education Quality (MOOQ)
    • Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
    • Open Education
    • Open Learning
    • Quality Reference Framework (QRF)


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