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While supporters claim massive open online courses (MOOCs) are the key to open access to knowledge, sceptics accuse them to be a new way of colonialism. The debate took place at the forum on “MOOCs in the Developing World” - hosted by the Nelson A Rockefeller Institute of Government of the State University of New York and the United Nations Academic Impact and the Institute of International Education - and lively opposite points of view illustrated the pros and cons of the matter.

It’s undeniable the success of online platforms such as edX, Coursera and Udacity and many advocates they are bringing high quality instruction from top worldwide universities to an increasing number of students from developing countries. Nevertheless, it’s arguable whether the western approach to the topics discussed in these courses will have a positive impact in other learning environments.

Critics argue that imposing this western inspired education system, instead of adapting the courses, can be easily called a form of neo-colonialism that could take to a worsening of class differences. From this perspective only technical courses can be helpful to poorer countries, while humanities and philosophy-oriented classes are too biased and have to be cut off from the dispute.

Eventually, to effectively help the raise of developing nations, MOOCs will have to face many other challenges such as school dropout and lack of electricity, stable infrastructure or internet connection.


The gLAWcal Team

LIBEAC project

Thursday, 7 August 2014

(Source: University World News)

This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.