Anka Mulder


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Posts in category Open Education

Online in Europe: OCW4STEM

Innovation in online education is taking place in the US, with developments such as Open Course Ware and MOOCs. Both are changing the face of higher education. What is happening in Europe?

Although Europe has not been at the forefront of this movement, awareness of its importance is growing also in Europe. OCW has had active practicioners in Europe for a number of years now, for example in the UK, Spain, the Netherlands and in France. A number of universities have started producing MOOCs, joined Coursera or set up an alternative platform, such as Future Learn in the UK.

It is important that online education gains momentum in Europe. This is why Delft University of Technology decided to develop an EU project for an academic network in the field of online education. The proposal focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Within a few months, we managed to get 50+ universities on board from 30+ countries. All of these universities understand the importance of this development. The proposal was sent to the European Commission with a funding request. We don’t yet know if the request will be granted, of course. But the fact that so many universities are keen to cooperate in this field is a major step.

For more info: see Willem van Valkenburgs blog:

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Revolution Higher Education

On 27 November I will give a talk at the “Nationaal Hoger Onderwijs Congres” (NHOC) in Rotterdam about how the digital age will change higher education, or already has changed it. If you’re interested, come and join me at the conference or have a look at the preview:

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Moody’s: MOOCs and their effects on Higher Education

On September 12 Moddy’s published an interesting article on MOOCs. What effect will they have on Higher Education institutes? Which universities will win, and which will lose?

“Positive credit effects are likely to develop for the higher education sector as elite universities offer more classes for an unlimited number of students through low-cost, open courseware platforms,” said Moody’s VP-Senior Analyst Karen Kedem, author of the report. “However, there will eventually be negative effects on for-profit education companies and some smaller not-for-profit colleges that may be left out of emerging high-reputation online networks.”–PR_255083

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European Commission – Opening Up Education

The European Commission is developing the "opening up education" initiative. It has started a consultation to collect  ideas and suggestions from people and organisations in the member states. It wants to  launch "opening up education" in 2013.

Have a look at the link:

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MIT – Harvard cooperation in Open Education

MIT and Harvard announced the start of EdX. EdX will offer online instructional content from both universities, such as video lessons, quizzes, feedback, student-ranked questions and answers, online laboratories and student-paced learning. EdX will not lead to a diploma, but it will give certificates of mastery to students who have demonstrated their knowledge of the course material.

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The Economist: on Open Access

"Open sesame":

More on Open Access for research publications:

On 14 April The Economist wrote a really interesting article about the business model for academic publications. Unfair, states the Economist. Traditional publisher make huge profit margins. For Elservier this was 37% in 2011, up from 36% in 2010. This is only possible:

"because the journals’ content is largely provided free by researchers, and the academics who peer-review their papers are usually unpaid volunteers. The journals are then sold to the very universities that provide the free content and labour. For publicly funded research, the result is that the academics and taxpayers who were responsible for its creation have to pay to read it."

In January this year, a number of academics have started a boycott of Elsevier and almost 10.000 have joined since.

Should traditional publishers and brick and mortar universities be affraid of the Open Access movement? I.e. will they lose profit (publishers) or students (universities)? Or can they find new models that embrace openness?

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HARVARD & open access

A committee of senior staff at Harvard University has asked academic staff to publish in open access journals rather than the traditional journals. Harvard academics who are on the editorial board of traditional journals are asked to see if articles can be published open. If that is not possible, they should consider to resign. Traditional journals have become unaffordable for the university, the email says:

Harvard’s annual cost for journals from these providers now approaches $3.75M. In 2010, the comparable amount accounted for more than 20% of all periodical subscription costs and just under 10% of all collection costs for everything the Library acquires. Some journals cost as much as $40,000 per year, others in the tens of thousands. Prices for online content from two providers have increased by about 145% over the past six years, which far exceeds not only the consumer price index, but also the higher education and the library price indices. These journals therefore claim an ever-increasing share of our overall collection budget. Even though scholarly output continues to grow and publishing can be expensive, profit margins of 35% and more suggest that the prices we must pay do not solely result from an increasing supply of new articles.

To read the email see:


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