EMMA – providing multilingual access to European MOOCs

The European Multiple MOOC Aggregator, called EMMA for short, is a 30 month pilot action supported by the European Union. It aims to showcase excellence in innovative teaching methodologies and learning approaches through the large-scale piloting of MOOCs on different subjects. EMMA provides a system for the delivery of free, open, online courses in multiple languages from different European universities to help preserve Europe’s rich cultural, educational and linguistic heritage and to promote real cross-cultural and multi-lingual learning.

Who’s involved?

There are 11 partners involved in EMMA at the start-up stage, although, as the project grows, the plan is to involve other universities, helping them to make their MOOCs available through the EMMA platform. The project is led by the Federica Web Learning team at the University of Naples Federico II in Italy and involves 3 other traditional universities: Université de Bourgogne, France, Tallinn University, Estonia and Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain and 3 Open Universities: Universitat Oberta De Catalunya in Spain, Open Universiteit Nederland in the Netherlands and Universidade Aberta in Portugal. These institutions provide MOOCs as well as experience and expertise in the field of e-learning, learning analytics and innovative translation technology. CSP – Innovazione Nelle ICT S.C.A R.L., Italy is a partner and supports the implementation of the platform, while ATOS in Spain leads on the exploitation work. IPSOS srl, Italy takes care of market analysis on users and contributors, and ATiT in Belgium is responsible for dissemination.

How will EMMA work?

EMMA operates in two main modes: as an aggregator and hosting system of courses produced by European universities and as a system that enables learners to construct their own courses using units from MOOCs as building blocks. The EMMA team is taking a deliberate multi-lingual, multi-cultural approach to learning by offering inbuilt translation and transcription services for courses hosted on the platform.

How many MOOCs will EMMA offer?

The pilot operates in two steps, first by making available a significant number of existing courses from project partners and/or MOOCs providers and then by bringing on board a second tier of universities keen to experiment with MOOCs. Pilots run in 7 countries with a total of 16 MOOCs and involve at least 60,000 users. Courses are offered in the language of each country, in English, and the pilot will trial an embryo form of multi-lingual translation by offering courses in Italian and Spanish as well. Advances in learning analytics feature in the analysis and evaluation work and a series of innovative approaches are trialed to make the piloted service sustainable in the medium to long term.

What’s in it for students?

Easy access to MOOCs from different parts of Europe on a range of different subjects along with the opportunity for students to create their own courses made up of modules from different MOOCs. Students benefit from the multilingual approach that underpins the EMMA approach helping them access transcriptions and translation of courseware in multiple languages.

Where’s the funding coming from?

EMMA is funded in part under the CIP (Competitiveness and Innovation Programme) Framework Programme of the European Union with the rest of the funding necessary to make the platform operational coming from the partners themselves.