26th ICDE World Conference news - Robust debate boosts the MOOCs agenda in development


MOOCs – massive open online courses – have the potential to build new learning pathways. Governments, universities and stakeholders have a duty to scrutinise how the opportunities MOOCs offer can best be harnessed for development, the International Council for Open and Distance Education, or ICDE, conference heard.

There are both challenges and opportunities for helping the poor by responding with MOOCs to the newly adopted United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, said Dan Wagner, UNESCO chair in learning and literacy and director of the University of Pennsylvania’s International Education Development Program, USA.

Wagner was a keynote speaker for the MOOCs4D II track at the 26th ICDE World Conference, held at Sun City north of Johannesburg from 14-16 October and hosted by the University of South Africa.

The 2015 MOOCs4D stream – which followed a first MOOCs4D conference at the University of Pennsylvania in April 2014 – was held under the theme “The potential of MOOCs as a transformative lever for promoting education as a global common good”.

The first MOOCs4D, according to the ICDE conference website, reflected on “the role of MOOCs in international development, expanding inclusion, transforming institutions and curriculum innovation”, as well as building capacity to create digital information resources and overcoming infrastructural constraints.

Since then the SDGs, particularly Goal 4 – “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” – have evoked global responses, according to the ICDE.

Read the rest of the article on the conference website.