From MOOC to iOOC

Introducing Interactive Open Online Courses

Nearly 10 years ago, Massive Open Online Courses took the education and e-learning field by storm. Some promised that MOOCs would radically democratize education lifting up the masses through ungated access to knowledge and achievement. Others warned that MOOCs would devalue education as we know it, put universities out of business, and deepen divides of an oligarchy. Thrun, co-founder of Udacity, even predicted that in fifty years there would likely be only ten institutions of higher education that would remain unscathed.

Needless to say, not many people are talking about MOOCs anymore. What once filled the speaking slots of education conferences, have now settled into spaces of predictability. Still, there are valuable lessons to be learned from their rapid rise and un-exceeded expectations. To name a few: Widely available won’t always mean widely used. Accessible won’t always mean accessed. Learning needs to be social and experiential, and online learning requires grounded affiliations and incentives. Is there a place for virtual exchange in open online courses? We have found that there is. 

What we call Interactive Open Online Courses can reach a great number of learners and create a wide variety of learning environments. A range of interactive courses offered through the Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange project combines the deep impact of intercultural exchange, with the broad reach of massive open online learning. This allows young people to have meaningful intercultural learning experiences as a part of their formal or non-formal education. Interactive Open Online Courses benefit from the diversity in the backgrounds and nationalities of its participants and use it as primary source for learning; creating dynamic and interactive educational experiences.

Today’s students, employees, and citizens need to be able to strive in diverse contexts, regardless of their disciplines. Participants in virtual exchange develop the transversal skills required for economic and civil participation in the 21st century, namely cross-cultural competencies, digital literacies, and curiosity about experiences and understandings distinct from their own. 

Subscribe to our newsletter.Stay up to date about our activities and more.

More from our blog

Insights from our partner 'ESIEE Paris'

From bonding over a shared passion for dancing to deep realizations on climate action; A few weeks into the Virtual Exchange ‘Climate Movements’ all involved are already experiencing plenty of highlights.  We approached Helen Eve from our partner ESIEE Paris to share thoughts on the relevance of Virtual Exchange for her students; "Young people today need several international experiences in order to be ready for a globally-connected workplace."

Read more

3 tips for effective online teaching

With nearly a decade of experience in developing large scale online interactive educational programmes, we’ve learnt a thing or two about what works well and what doesn’t. Here are our top tips for everyone involved with remote teaching, elearning and online instructional design.

Read more

What do Virtual Exchange and a potluck have in common?

Climate change is considered one of the most pressing concerns of our time, and has already had a significant impact on human movement and life on earth. Young people have been a major source of momentum behind climate action in recent years. Through Virtual Exchange we wanted to offer the opportunity for young people to connect with each other on this theme. How do they experience and perceive climate change? And how do they feel about their role as young people? We collected some of the experiences from the Virtual Exchange ‘Cultural Encounters: The Big Climate Movement 2020’. 

Read more

'Designing and implementing virtual exchange – a collection of case studies'

With contributions from leading Virtual Exchange practitioners and developers, 'Designing and implementing virtual exchange – a collection of case studies' offers tangible examples of different VE models. This publication brings together case studies to illustrate various ways of implementation in formal and non-formal education, across a range of disciplines.

Read more

How to adapt core learning elements to be effective online

Based on our expertise in Virtual Exchange pedagogy Sharing Perspectives Foundation is organizing a workshop series on harnessing the opportunities of online education. In three sessions we will provide step-by-step techniques, practical tips and unique exercises modelling online interactivity and student engagement.

Read more

Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange as a new form of education

What the Virtual Exchange format introduces, is a continuous connection between the local and the global, online and offline, personal and common, or differences and similarities. The format does not introduce a radical disruption from or for traditional forms of education, but establishes new dimensions and connections to existing, formal education settings. 

Read more

Physical distance, but socially close

Many of us were confronted with earlier this year with sudden closures of universities, schools, travel restrictions and even lockdowns. Check out how some of our active Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange community members feel about Virtual Exchange during challenging times.

Read more