The European Union supports the first pan-European online course initiative

April 23, 2013

Funding Scheme: 2013-04-23


The pan-European online courses initiative MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) is a project funded by the European Union within the framework of the Lifelong Learning programme.

This project consists in providing university online courses, which contributes to modernize teaching methods and to improve access to higher education. It is thus part of the new Opening up Education initiative that the Commission will launch this summer.

The project MOOC will provide access to 40 online courses free of charge, available in 12 languages, and covering many topics.

This initiative is led by the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities – EADTU and gathers mainly open universities.



Commissioner Vassiliou, together with Prof Mulder and EADTU President Swann, will launch the European MOOCs initiative in a webcasted international press event hosted by the Open Universiteit in the Netherlands on Thursday 25 April (11:00-12:00 CET). They will be joined by Xavier Prats Monné, Deputy Director-General of the Commission’s Education and Culture directorate. You can view the event online: Media wishing to participate in the chat should register in advance on this site.

What about the courses?

Courses range from mathematics to economics, e-skills to e-commerce, climate change to cultural heritage, corporate social responsibility to the modern Middle East, and language learning to writing fiction. Each partner is offering courses via its own learning platform and at least in its home language. The current choice is from the 11 languages of the partners (see list below), plus Arabic.

Courses can be taken either in a scheduled period of time or anytime at the student’s own pace. They typically involve from 20 to 200 hours of study. All courses may lead to recognition: a completion certificate, a so-called badge, or a credit certificate that may count towards a degree. In the latter case, students have to pay for the certificate, with the cost ranging from € 25 to € 400, depending on the course size (the hours of study involved) and institution.

Launch partners and contacts

TR – Anadolu University
LT – Kaunas University of Technology
FR – Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche
RU – Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Informatics
NL – Open Universiteit in the Netherlands
IL – Open University of Israel
ES – Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia
PT – Universidade Aberta
IT – Università Telematica Internazionale UNINETTUNO
UK – The Open University
SK – Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava (FEI)

The informal partnership allows institutions to collaborate to offer access to MOOCs across Europe and beyond.

EADTU members who are planning to join the initiative include: Open University of Cyprus, DAOU/Aarhus University (DK), Tallinn University (EE), Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (ES), FIED Fédération Interuniversitaire de l’Enseignement à Distance (FR), Hellenic Open University (GR), AGH-University of Science and Technology Centre of eLearning (PL), Maria Curie Sklodowska University (PL), and University of Ljubljana (SI).

Other potential partners interested in joining should contact EADTU.

What is Opening up Education?

Commissioner Vassiliou, together with Vice-President Neelie Kroes, responsible for the digital agenda, will launch the Commission’s new Opening up Education initiative this summer. It aims to promote the use of ICT and open educational resources at all levels of education in order to provide current and future generations of students with the skills they need.

European Association of Distance Teaching Universities

EADTU is an institutional network of Europe’s ten open and distance/online universities, 14 national associations of conventional universities organising distance/online education for off-campus students, and two ‘dual mode’ – campus-based and online – universities. EADTU’s activities are supported through the Jean Monnet action, part of the EU’s Lifelong Learning Programme.

Url description: European Commission Press