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The ubiquitous use of mobile telephones, personal computers, internet and social media has enabled new ways of communicating and collaborating; it has changed people’s private and working lives, and significantly transformed major sectors of the economy.

It also affects higher education. Various forms of e-learning have been evolving over the past decades with different purposes, whether it is to innovate in learning and teaching or to provide access for different types of learners. EUA is closely monitoring these developments, at institutional and European policy level.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are full courses offered online and free of charge to any user; they have expanded incredibly fast and are subject to rapid change in both application and use. There is considerable speculation and anticipation about how this development may transform teaching and learning and higher education provision more generally.

EUA is closely monitoring the developments, and contributes actively to debates and initiatives at European level.

EUA will continue to follow developments in the field of e-learning, with special emphasis on MOOCs, and publish its findings.

The study, which was launched in November 2014, presents and analyses the results of a survey conducted by EUA between October and December 2013 which gathered 249 answers from higher education institutions from across Europe.  

The goal of the survey was to map European university capacities for e-learning and assess perceptions regarding its general impact on learning and teaching. 

The survey asked about the type of e-learning institutions use, their experiences in this area and their expectations. It considered blended and online learning in various formats. Given the strong interest in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), a large section of the report is also dedicated to this issue.  The survey also posed questions regarding support structures and services, intra-institutional coordination, quality assurance and recognition. 

The results of the survey showed that the vast majority of institutions offer blended learning and online learning courses (91% and 82% respectively). Less frequent, but seemingly also on the rise, were other forms of provision such as joint inter-institutional collaboration and online degree courses. Furthermore, nearly half of the surveyed institutions said they already had an institution-wide strategy (for e-learning) in place, and one fourth were preparing one.

The survey also demonstrated for example that Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are still of high and seemingly growing interest at European universities. At the time of the survey at the end of 2013, only 31 of the responding institutions (12% of the sample), offered MOOCs or were just about to launch them. But almost half of the institutions that did not offer MOOCs indicated their intention to introduce them.  

The study results will be used by EUA in the European higher education policy debate, with regard to the EC Communication on “Opening up education” (September 2013) and the ongoing discussion on teaching and learning in the Bologna Process. EUA will also use them to devise measures for supporting and providing networking opportunities for higher education institutions committed to or interested in the topic.

For the publication, please click here.


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