The EU Agrees: MOOCs are Crucial for Building Web Skills!

“Europe needs to catch up on building web talent that suits market needs. Our study shows that due to their reach and their wide acceptance, MOOCs are likely to become the first choice in delivering web skills to European learners. I call on universities and other education providers to incorporate MOOCs into their offerings.” – EU Commissioner, Neelie Kroes

When MOOCs first hit the scene back in 2011, it was soon clear that they had a global reach and demand. For the first time, online university-level courses were free and accessible and people wanted it. Access to education is great on its own, no doubt about it, but now we are starting to see that MOOCs can also be an answer for other needs: developing skills that are in demand on the labour market. The recent EU study agrees. Web skills are in high demand in Europe and MOOCs can help fill the gap.

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The European call for Web Skills

In order to foster web talent in Europe, the European Commission launched an initiative and network called “Startup Europe”. The study they recently released focused on MOOCs as a channel to encourage web skill development. Here are a few of the key findings:

  • MOOCs are considered to be the most suitable medium for building web-skills.
  • The online learners chimed in with their feedback: it should be easier to find the courses you’re searching for.
  • The web industry demands skills that include audio/video authoring, game design and animation, as well as iOS, Android and HTML5.
  • Respondents from the academic field regard MOOCs as “techno-pedagogic laboratories” and use them to improve their methods of online teaching through the vast learning data that they are able to offer.
  • Educational providers, however, also stressed that they need more resources in order to develop and deliver MOOCs, and are concerned with the cost, quality assurance and institutional culture that come along with MOOCs.

The study opens the door and provides direction for the EU initiative to foster web skills through MOOCs. The next move the EU Commission is making on the issue is the “MOOCs for Web Talent” webinar on 3 July. There will also be several MOOC workshops and events in the coming months and you are invited to participate. All of the EU Commission’s steps that have come out of the study will be presented at the Slush 2014 conference in Helsinki.

Find a course that develops skills you can use

iversity stands behind the study and the initiative to develop web skills. As part of our course offerings, the Web-Engineering course trilogy joins the cause. Web-Engineering III starts 26 May, and if you missed courses I and II, they will be offered again in the future. Keep an eye on the course catalogue, even more course are on the way!

Established companies, but also startups are looking for people with web-related talent. iversity is one of the latter (check our job ads if you want to work with us). Those of you who dream of founding a startup themselves will find out quickly: nowadays, there is hardly any way around needing in-depth knowledge about programming, web design, game design, and a lot more. But it also takes business skills. Now guess who’s offering them? You’re right: it’s iversity. On 28 June, the course “The DO School Start-Up Lab” will begin, giving insight on how to found and maintain a startup company with social relevance.

Europe has to make a move in order to overcome the “crisis” narrative that it’s been caught in for the last half decade. Now the EU supports MOOCs to foster web talent and create jobs. This may be a start to open new perspectives to a lot of people in Europe and beyond.

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P.S. Sunday 25 May is election day throughout Europe. If you’re a European: Seize the chance and cast your vote!

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