Massive Open Online Courses

September 2014 | UNESCO Bangkok Office


Dear readers,

As you may know, we conducted a survey with our e-newsletter subscribers in July. Thank you all for your feedback, it is important to us to make these monthly editions as useful and interesting as possible. We now have the results, and would like to share them with you. Your opinions are all valued and we will continue to make our effort to improve the e-Newsletter. 

The theme of this month’s edition is MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses. With the technological advances today, increasing enrolment in higher education institutions and rapid privatization, the place for ICT is becoming more visible in everyday classrooms, and could be useful to our teachers and educators. With the continuing debates over access to, quality of and costs of education, the role of Open Distance Learning initiatives has taken on a more prominent role.

We will try and look at both sides of the discussion and opinions on MOOCs.

Reflecting on the feedback from our readers, each monthly edition will feature a “Sub-region Corner”, where we will present reviews of the ICT in Education status, issues and initiatives of a chosen sub-region, within and beyond the theme of the e-newsletter in that context.

Please let us know if you have any comments or suggestions.

We hope that you enjoy reading our newsletter!


  • Can MOOCs Help Democratize Access to Education?
    By Fiona Hollands, Ph.D., Teachers College, Columbia University

    Written by an expert who has been conducting a study on MOOCs, Dr. Hollands questions their effectiveness, and also provides ways to use them in a useful way for teaching and learning. Hollands states that they might not be the panacea, but can add to the education field in interesting and possibly helpful ways.

Sub-Regional Corner:

Reflecting on the feedback from our readers, and as mentioned above, each monthly edition will feature a “Sub-region Corner”. This corner will have an expert from the area share their projects or other relevant ICT in Education information.

For the next issue, the October edition, we will focus on "1-to-1 Computing" in South Asia.

We welcome your contributions from the sub-region, sharing first-hand experiences, success stories and innovative projects. To share your stories, please contact

Programmes and Projects:

News and Events:

  • UPenn MOOCs Conference
    This conference brought together various experts in the fields of education and technology. The objective was to discuss the MOOCs, understand them better and come up with projects and initiatives regarding this phenomenon in a more effective way.
  • 17th UNESCO-APEID International Conference (29-31 October 2014, Bangkok, Thailand)
    The theme of this conference will be “The Powerhouses of Education: Teachers for the Future We Want”. The goals of this conference are to present innovative ideas and projects that can help teachers perform better, promote collaboration among global, national and regional stakeholders, encourage networking, and increase understanding of the teaching profession.
  • KMOOC for Knowledge Sharing
    This first workshop in September, 2014 aimed to provide collaboration through MOOCs in Korea and spread this movement to other continents with shared responsibility and vision of the future for this new avenue in education.


  • A MOOC for Teachers in 7 Languages
    Starting on the 27th of October, this free five-week course will focus on helping teachers better design ICT-based classroom activities, and is a product of the ICDE Bringing Educational Resources for Teachers in Africa (BERTA) and the Hands-On ICT projects. Available in 7 languages, this MOOC is the first of its kind. It will also focus on the Learning Design Studio (LDS) approach for course design and activity development.

  • CourseTalk website for student’s reviews of MOOCs that they’ve taken
    Learn what students think of their courses, learn about the most popular classes, and get all of the information you need by searching a subject, direction or institution.

    More resources on CourseTalk type of websites.

  • MOOCs website for researchers (funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
    This website will help all those interested in MOOCs explore the topic further and assess their impact on the field of education. Here you can find information on projects, reports, conferences and more.

  • Useful apps on MOOCs
    A collection of useful apps on MOOCs which can be accessed with smart phones or tablets.

New Publications:

  • ICT for Literacy
    UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) has released programs using ICTs for Literacy Teaching and Learning from around the world.

  • Central Asia Symposium (CASIE) Outcome Document
    The Central Asia Symposium took place in Tashkent, Uzbekistan of this year. Its goal was to promote a collaborative network among regional officials and stakeholders to debate and exchange ideas on better practices. The theme of this symposium was “Embracing Technologies, Empowering Teachers”.

Next Issue: The theme will be “1-to-1 Computing” with the focus on South Asia. If our readers are interested in contributing to this edition, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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The opinions expressed in the documents included in this newsletter are those of the authors and editors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of UNESCO, nor of any particular Division or Office. All rights to the resources included in this guide remain with their respective copyright owners, as indicated for each resource.