EMMA project meeting – Madrid


I am currently in Madrid at an EMMA project meeting. It has been a useful meeting and timely, given we have now run the first round of MOOCs. Five providers delivered seven MOOCs in the Autumn. Leicester ran two MOOCs; one on Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL) and one on Learning Design. We each summarised our reflections on the MOOCs. Paul Rudman and I summarised the Leceister experience. Each MOOC was 8 weeks long, consisting of three hours of learning each week. Each week was structured in the following way: Activate, Demonstrate and Reflect. The materials consisted of text, images and video, and participants were encourage to contribute to discussions forums and blogs. Each week began with a short summary video from me, outlining the focus for that weeks and associated activities. The MOOCs were adapted from existing materials associated with two Masters level, 30 credit modules. The timing associated with activities were clearly labeled and they were divided into core and extension activities. The TEL MOOC gave an overview of technologies and their implications for education. Participant were encouraged to reflect on the relevance for their own practice. The Learning Design module was based around the 7Cs of Learning Design framework. We were disappointed by the number of people who participated, but put this down to the late advertising of the MOOCs. In addition, the EMMA platform was still in development, so perhaps the low numbers were not such a bad thing. Nonetheless we had around 70 participants start each MOOC. As a result of our experience on this first round of MOOCs and a detailed usability test the platform is much improved. We aim to re-run them later in the year. Other courses run included Climate Change, Search on the Internet and Excel 2010, and e-learning (in Dutch).

A second wave of MOOCs will be launched in the New Year, in March and May. Including an exciting one from France on wine! New functionality is planned for the platform, including peer assessment and a dashboard of social media plug-ins. One of the courses offered will be from the METIS project; a Learning Design MOOC based on the ILDE Learning Design tool, this will be lead by Yishay Mor. The MOOC will be 5 – 6 weeks long, consisting of between 3 – 10 hours of learning each week. The main target of the MOOC will be people interesting in designing MOOC, so it is a valuable addition to the EMMA portfolio of MOOCs. This will be the first MOOC offered by a third-party MOOC provider. We have already had a number of institutions/projects approaches us to see if they can use the EMMA platform and as a result we are currently drafting a set of criteria to assess MOOCs offered by third party providers (Table 1).

 Table 1



Alignment with the EMMA principles

The following are core principles for the EMMA project: focus on European member states, multicultural, open practices, accessible and ethically sound.

The quality of the content and activities.

The MOOC should be based on sound pedagogical principles, including: clear learning outcomes/objectives, a clear learning pathway, an indication of activity timings, effective use of text, audio and video, and clear assessment elements (if included). Further guidance on creating good quality content and activities can be found in the EMMA good practice guide in the design of MOOCs.

Experience of the MOOC providers

The MOOC provider should be a subject expert in terms of the focus of the MOOC, and also have experience of designing and/or delivery online learning.  

The MOOC should be delivered in one of the EMMA supported languages

EMMA currently supports languages in: English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and Portuguese. Other European languages may be included in the future, including French and Estonian.

The MOOC provider must be an EU member state

The MOOC provider should be one of the 28 EU countries.

Attendance at the EMMA Summer School

Priority will be given to MOOC providers who are willing to attend the EMMA Summer School.


The MOOC provider should provide evidence that they have sufficient human resources to design and deliver the MOOC. It addition they should be prepared to adhere to the EMMA approach, and work within the constraints in terms of timescales, for example time to complete transcription and translation. They should be prepared to adapt their MOOC to fit the EMMA platform.

Fits within one of the EMMA cluster subject areas  

The MOOC should fit within one of EMMA’s cluster subject areas, which are: Intercultural issues, e-learning and pedagogies, food and the environment, and digital technologies. New cluster subject areas may be added over time.