International education has gained public attention as one result of the rapid development of MOOCs which promise to expand universities’ market reach and promote the globalisation of their higher education agenda. In response to this new development, higher education institutions need to assess, prepare and adapt their global engagement strategies to the new opportunities presented by MOOCs and other forms of open online learning.
The challenges are how open courses and MOOCs can be used effectively to help UK universities to develop their brand internationally and to expand their international market strategically.
In this light talk, we will look at the Web Science MOOC created by the university of Southampton which has been integrated into a computer science course by Beijing Normal University. 87 first year undergraduate students who are studying an introduction to computer science have registered on the Web Science MOOC on Futurelearn. In addition to attending lessons offered by their own university, they also watch videos online and discuss the learning material with their peers and the local tutors face to face during the MOOC study. Online seminars are delivered by academics from University of Southampton. Online facilitations and assessment are provided by the local tutor on Wolearn, a China based open learning platform, during the MOOC study. Some findings from a survey of students, educators and project leaders involved in this course will be presented.
This case study shoes how MOOCs may offer a low-cost, flexible alternative for glocal students, who choose to study in universities in their home countries in order to gain an international education or experience online. These students could begin with some MOOCs that can be integrated into their own university curriculum to gain credits through a blended learning approach. Potentially these courses can help UK universities to market their higher degree programmes and recruit new students who are better prepared to study on-campus in the UK or through fully online degrees without leaving their own countries.
This experiment helps UK universities to rethink how MOOCs and open courses be used to help institutions explore new paths and models for affordable, flexible and effective international education through online or blended provisions and how to better market their courses to potential students through partnerships with Chinese universities.