MOOCs and the language barrier: is open education not so open after all?

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Source : theconversation.com
Auteur : Scott L. Montgomery
Date de l'info : 1 novembre 2013

English has been put in place as a global language by a host of historical forces, ranging from British colonialism to World War II and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Today it is actively chosen, not imposed. (…)

Too exclusive?

But if MOOCs are almost exclusively in English, doesn’t that restrict access to online education?

English is already entirely dominant in the sciences, engineering, and medicine. Without it, one is handicapped. This is less true in the humanities, with the social sciences probably in between.

At the moment, MOOCs are “agents” for English and for American-style teaching – including a more relaxed, friendly style of lecturing, plus student-centered activities, collaboration, and networking. This is inevitable, given where the technology was born. But if it had begun in Japan or Germany, however, English would still likely be chosen as the main language, given that a large international audience is targeted.

Right now, according to Andrew Ng, co-founder of Coursera, one of the main MOOC providers, at least 60% of MOOC registrants have come from non-Anglophone countries, with few complaints about language. We can assume these students know English fairly well or wish to improve.

Learn more about MOOCs and the language barrier: is open education not so open after all? – click in link HERE

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Olga Byrska

About Olga Byrska

Current Communication Director at Business MOOC Factory. She has been participated in creating the conception of the MOOC's MAGAZINE. One of admin's of the MOOCs MAGAZINE as well. Olga has been a journalist in journal: Gazeta Wyborcza; weeklies: Polityka, Newsweek Poland, Kultura Liberalna, Tygodnik Powszechny; magazines: Chimera, Twórczość (Warsaw, Poland). She has been writing about literature and theatre.

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