eMundus & EMMA: Opening up education

The EMMA team were invited to the closing meeting of the eMundus project in Rome on 4th November. This two-year Erasmus initiative set out to strengthen cooperation and awareness among European Higher Education Institutions and their strategic counterparts worldwide by exploring the potential of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) and Virtual Mobility (VM) to support long term, balanced, inter-cultural academic partnerships.


The first part of the meeting presented the outcomes of the project. These included the eMundus Atlas that maps MOOC and VM initiatives across the globe, thus facilitating potential collaborations, and their Exploratorium, which shares a series of tools for integrating OER into teaching practice. Representatives of the FEI University in Brazil were present, as an example of the kind of collaboration that eMundus had fostered. Students and teachers at the institution had developed a serious game in open access for the Engineering classroom, to learn how construction materials behave under stress. The group were keen to extend their project through further collaborations.

The second part of the meeting involved group brainstorming to finalise the list of recommendations that eMundus would submit to HE policy makers, to universities and to academic networks to promote the use of OER and to encourage international collaboration at HE level; thus ensuring that the results of the eMundus investigations were implemented. Final recommendations included:

  • Including open licences in content policy as, for example, the Philippines do, through their “Open distance learning act”. This act states that all educational publications must be in the public domain as education is financed by the State.
  • Accepting accreditation from international students based on OER.
  • Reward innovators and practitioners who promote MOOCs, VM and OER through competitions and incentives.
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    The EMMA team were invited because EMMA was seen as a flagship MOOC project in terms of eMundus objectives, especially our commitment to use and reuse of OER; our collaborative, multicultural approach to MOOC production and learning and especially our desire to broaden access to MOOCs through multilingual translation services. It is hoped that fruitful partnerships can be forged with providers of educational content thanks to the groundwork done by eMundus.

    EMMA was represented by the Coordinator, Rosanna De Rosa and Operations Manager Ruth Kerr. As well as giving a short presentation on the philosophy and aims of EMMA, they also led a lively discussion on possible policy indicators for opening up the education market including: MOOCs as textbooks, the unbundling and rebuilding of the education process, and the “uberisation” of education.

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