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OpenCases: the France Université Numérique case study

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OpenCases is a study which is part of the OpenEdu Project. It is a qualitative study consisting of a review of literature on open education and nine in-depth case studies of higher education institutions, a consortium of universities, a private organisation and a national initiative. It analysed the rationale and enabling conditions for involvement in open education, open education activities, strategies, impact, challenges and prospects. The main outcome of this study is evidence that a large number of OER have reached a large group of learners. However, completion rates of MOOCs are low. Accreditation is not formalised and in general its impact on employability is not measured.

FUN is a policy initiative supporting the French 2013 Digital Agenda at higher education level. FUN MOOC, the French MOOC platform, supports the Digital Agenda’s objective that 20% of French higher education institutions produce OER by 2018.

FUN is a relatively young initiative developed following the path of the so-called thematic digital universities (UNTs), groupings of higher education institutions that have supported universities in the promotion, production and dissemination of validated digital teaching resources and pooled these resources together. UNTs contributed to universities’ readiness and willingness to participate in OER initiatives and are still active.

FUN is supported and maintained by the Ministry in charge of higher education with the help of operational and strategic committees, (management and coordination), higher education institutions (content) and French public bodies (technical aspects). The Ministry also provides support services to universities for content development, such as training sessions on how to use the platform. National public programmes that fund content development projects also support the production of MOOCs.

FUN currently provides access to more than 140 MOOCs, produced by more than 50 higher education institutions. Around a quarter of those courses have been run several times (twice or three times). Almost 375,000 users are registered on the platform and, in July 2015, the number of course registrations was around 1,800,000. Most FUN MOOC users are men, between 25-50 years old, with higher education qualifications.

For the time being, almost all institutions providing MOOCs on the FUN platform award certificates of completion. Student testing has been piloted, potentially opening the door to course accreditation in the future. Partnerships with local higher education providers to facilitate testing and make accreditation possible are also being considered.

FUN uses the web and social media for the promotion and dissemination of information about its MOOC offer. Although a quarter of FUN users are not from France (and it is important to note that 15% of users are from Africa, mainly from French speaking countries), and in absolute terms the French-speaking world represents a very large number of people, the use of French for the courses on offer puts some limits on the international impact of FUN’s activities.

The full document is available online at http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/bitstream/JRC101533/jrc101533_opencases%20case%20studies%20on%20openness%20in%20education.pdf.

This extract comes from the the OpenCases: Case Studies on Openness in Education document which states that reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged. Source: Souto-Otero, M., Inamorato dos Santos, A., Shields, R., Lažetić, P., Castaño-Muñoz, J., Devaux, A., Oberheidt, S., Punie, Y. (2016) OpenCases: Case Studies on Openness in Education. Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, Joint Research Centre, European Commission. EUR 27937 EN, doi:10.2791/039825


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