Recently, the Open Education Europa Web page, an initiative of the European Commission launched in September 2013, published an article which unveiled that 35% of the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) offered in Europe come from Spain.
So, what is going on in Spain for such a sudden blossom?
There are four main reasons for this boom:
- The creation of platforms that make these courses available to everyone that has an internet connection. The most used platform for MOOCs by Spanish universities during 2013 has been MiriadaX, a project promoted by Telefónica Learning Services and Universia also in 2013. Other important platforms are UNX y UNED COMA.
- The great acceptance by the Academia, which perceive the MOOCs as an opportunity to promote their universities and professors all over the world. In Spain 28 out of 80 universities have included at least one MOOC in their academic programs, and 20 of these 28 universities that offer MOOCs have delivered them through MiriadaX.
- The great acceptance by the professors’ community, who, perhaps, has shown keen to try new teaching methods after a long and highly bureaucratized period of adaptation to the Bolonia process.
- The great potential that the Spanish language has to engage students from the Spanish speaking world – Latin American countries offer 600 million potential students.
There are also two other important reasons that have made the MOOCs successful not only in Spain but also in the rest of countries that offer this kind of courses through their universities:
- Their gratuity, variety and accessibility.
- Their essence: experts refer to MOOCs as knowledge in its pure state – i.e. they do not pursue evaluating the students’ knowledge but helping them learn. In fact, research shows that Spanish MOOCs students have a previous high education level: 40% own a university degree and 20% own a high school degree.
Last but not least, it is worth pointing other regions of the world where MOOCs are growing in number: these are North America and Latin America. Some examples of successful platforms for MOOCs in the USA are Udacity, edX and Coursera. In Latin America the most successful platform is, once again, MiriadaX, which is present in 1,232 universities with 625,270 students subscribed and 787 professors registered.