This house believes that MOOCs can enhance the cross-institutional collaboration and European policies necessary to support refugee HE and employment
This Oxford debate is being conducted as part of the MOONLITE Project.Join this Debate
Do you agree with the motion?
ModeratorCharlotte Traeger - Charlotte is a research associate, PhD student and the local coordinator of the project MOONLITE at the ESCP Europe in Berlin and has led an output on the possible pathways for the development of skills and knowledge of refugees and students via online learning to promote their access to the labor market and HEI.
During this first week of the debate, the arguments of John (pro) and Caroline (con) were discussed by the participants. At the end of the week, 33% of participants supported Caroline's arguments, and the majority of participants (67%) supported John's, in that MOOCs can be used to create standards by which managers and policymakers can be held to account and pressure to improve (John).
However, participants in the debate suggested a number of ways to further improve the use of MOOCs for this purpose. In particular, they suggested (1) fostering a sense of community in e-learning to increase feelings of social inclusion, (2) ensuring greater openness of MOOCs, in particular continued free access to them, and (3) increasing their recognition and certification.
In addition, several areas of reflections are highlighted by the participants for which further comments are invited:
– How can existing content be made available to a greater number of people?
– Should MOOCs be “used” to strengthen cross-institutional collaboration and the generation of European policies? What should the role of MOOCs be here?
– What have we done wrong, or what were the oversights over the past 20 years? Or are migrants and refugees just the next “problem” the “solution of open” is looking for?
For this last week of the debate, we invite you to delve deeper into the new arguments proposed by John and Caroline, the ways of improvement and the areas of reflections suggested by the participants in the first week of the debate.
ConCaroline Kuhn - Caroline's PhD topic examines the intersections between education, technology, and sociology, looking at students’ daily entanglements with digital tools and platforms, exploring their agency or lack of in digital spaces. She is an open education practitioner and an open researcher.
After two weeks of debate, my overall view is that ‘the house’ and ‘the guest’ are not in extreme disagreement. For me, the combination of what the MOONLITE project has and still will achieve together with my considerations about taking the structural barriers into account can be a fruitful combination. Ildiko Mazar’s suggestions are in line with my primary concerns:
Social context matter in design and delivery
A human approach is critical for the success of the implementation phase
To think about representation and recognition as Fraser’s social justice model suggest when it comes to content design.
My main worry is the possibility that the majority of MOOCs are designed for those who have got an education and some professional experience, as Sarah said, leaving behind those with not much formal education and experience with online learning, who are in my view, those who should not be forgotten. I guess what is important here, as Eric suggested in his comment, is that we reflect on what has not worked so far and not to use migrants and refugees “just as the next ‘problem’ the ‘solution of open’ is looking for”! This is an excellent point being myself someone that do believe open education can serve issues related to education and social justice. It has been an excellent experience sharing my ideas with the audience. Reading the comments is great as it does reflect that we are all in one way or another aware of the fact that ‘open’ does not imply anything per se, there is much complementary work to be done so that open practices can be the solution for some of our social problems.
ProJohn Traxler - Professor John Traxler was Professor of Mobile Learning, the world’s first, since September 2009, and now Research Professor of Digital Learning in the Institute of Education at the University of Wolverhampton UK. He is one of the pioneers of mobile learning and has been associated with mobile learning projects since 2001 when he was evaluator for m-learning, the first major EU project. He is a Founding Director and current Vice-President of the International Association for Mobile Learning, responsible for the annual international mLearn research conference running since 2002.
The challenges and barriers facing refugees are fluid and complex. MOOCs represent a popular and appropriate concept with a growing multitude of diverse content, platforms and implementations and with an established institutional visibility, background and role. They are understood by policy-makers and educational managers. They have proved to be a vehicle for collaboration between institutions and attracted considerable investment. Extending and diversifying the content and the technologies and increasing the research activity is clearly the best way to connect with refugees and meet their needs – any other strategy would be starting from scratch, and would involve getting buy-in, building new platforms, getting momentum, making connections, building credibility and building content and is just not effective or efficient. We should instead redouble our efforts with MOOCs for refugees.