Draft – originally published in: Ebner, M., Lorenz, A., Lackner, E., Kopp, M., Kumar, S., Schön, S., Wittke,
A. (2016) How OER enhance MOOCs – A Perspective from German-speaking Europe. In: Open Education:
from OERs to MOOCs. Jemni, M., Kinshuk, Khribi, M. K. (Eds.). Springer. Lecture Notes in Educational
Technology. pp. 205-220
How OER enhance MOOCs - A Perspective from
Educational Technology, Graz University of Technology, Münzgrabenstraße 35a, A-8010 Graz, e-
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School of Teaching and Learning, G518D Norman Hall, College of Education, University of
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Abstract In this chapter, we discuss why OER and MOOCs are a necessary and pow-
erful combination, especially in German-speaking Europe. We begin with an introduc-
tion to open online courses and an overview of copyright law in Germany and Austria.
We then describe the evolution of OER MOOCs in Austria and Germany, especially
the development of two MOOC platforms. Finally, we present examples of the impact
of OER on MOOCs to conclude that an approach combining OER and MOOCs can be
very valuable to foster new and innovative didactical approaches as well as future ed-
Since George Siemens and Stephen Downes organized the first Massive Open
Online Course (MOOC) in 2008, there has been a dramatic increase of such online
courses. MOOCs became a worldwide phenomenon following a Stanford University
course on Artificial Intelligence that had more than 160,000 learners worldwide (Car-
son & Schmidt, 2012). Several famous universities developed infrastructure to host
MOOCs and MOOC platforms such as Udacity, edX or Coursera began to offer online
courses for thousands of learners for free. MOOCs that were grounded in connectiv-
ism were termed cMOOCs and the new generation of MOOCs were termed extended
or xMOOCs. MOOCs moved from an open course format to a very structured format.
However, the most important development was the change from “open” in the sense of
Open Education to “open” in the sense of freely available. While Siemens and Downes
wanted to change the accessibility of learning content and proclaimed the use of Open
Educational Resources (OER), the commercially oriented offerings that followed were
freely accessible but did not necessarily contain open educational resources. The moti-
vation of providing non-OER MOOCs is understandably ownership, uniqueness and
control, factors that might appear short-sighted in terms of sustainability when
MOOCs are offered over several years at institutions. Moreover, these factors might
play a bigger role in the many business models that exist in higher education in coun-
tries such as the United States, but in German-speaking Europe (Germany, Austria,
and parts of Switzerland, Italy) where public higher education is free of cost or in-
cludes very low fees, and copyright restrictions are very tight, there is a major need for
Open Educational Resources in Open Education or even education in general.
To address this need, two MOOC providers in Germany and Austria, called mooin
(Germany) and iMooX (Austria), started with a defined OER-requirement on all
courses, unlike other well-known MOOC providers. All courses offered by these pro-
viders have to be licensed by a Creative Commons license, preferably an open license.
Therefore, any educational resource (e.g. video, document, learning object) included
in a course offered by mooin and iMooX can be used by anyone outside the MOOC
even if the course has ended. Additionally, in May 2015, these two large regional uni-
versity MOOC platforms that use free licensed content founded the MOOChub for
better cooperation. The project MOOChub aims to offer educational content to a broad
public and to reduce any barriers concerning accessibility. The project idea is rather
simple; any course offered by one provider will also be offered by the other and vice
versa. This ensures that courses that are available reach more people (especially those
who are learners at only one platform) and also serves as a perfect OER example:
Content is linked, re-used, and, may also be changed in future.
In this chapter, we first describe the context of OER and MOOCs in German-
speaking Europe with a special focus on the strict copyright law. Then, we provide an
overview of why OER are essential in online courses and how they facilitate participa-
tion, cooperation with partners, creativity, the impact of the courses and the sustaina-
bility of the content. Finally, evaluation results are presented and discussed. The main
question we will address is: What is the current state of OER and MOOCs in German-
speaking Europe and how do OER influence MOOC impact, participation, cooperation
and creative solutions?
Copyright and OER in German-speaking countries
In Central Europe (especially in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland), a strict copy-
right law protects the rights of artists, musicians, and authors. However, this also
makes it nearly impossible to use such content for educational purposes as something
like “fair use” (such as in the United States) is unknown. This is even the case when
the educational usage of such resources is intended. For example: If a university lec-
turer produces content for a lecture and makes it available online and in a digital for-
mat to assist the students’ learning processes, students are not allowed to copy any of
the content into their personal learning resources and share it with anyone else. Each
student has to ask for permission as to whether this is allowed or not. In the case of
MOOCs this means teachers who participate in such a course are not allowed to use
MOOC materials in their own classes or teaching. Thus the content provided by an au-
thor can only be used in a “read-only” manner otherwise the copyright is being violat-
ed and the violator can be sued, which happens quite often. At the same time, the reali-
ty is often different. The daily, illegal but more or less necessary behavior of content
usage or copying, leads teachers and students to hide their content from each other.
Thus the main difference between the copyright law in the US and Germany is that in
the US content can be used for educational purposes following fair use guidelines or,
the author has to specify his/her copyright on content or creative works, whereas in
Germany and Austria any material is under copyright per se.
Open Educational Resources (OER) represent exactly the opposite of this status
quo and therefore a solution to overcome these problems. They are not only freely
available, but also free to use. Every single resource is delivered with a license that al-
lows usage by teachers as well as by learners in a defined way. “Open” in German-
speaking Europe means that (Ebner & Schön, 2011):
• it is available for free,
• it is useable for free (can be changed, remixed, printed …),
• it is possible to use and modify the material with freely available open source soft-
ware and open formats (e.g. OpenOffice), and
• it supports open teaching and learning processes.
Beside the copyright law, Geser (2007) points out further benefits of using Open Edu-
cational Resources in education (p. 21):
• OER offer a broader range of subjects and topics to choose from and allow for
more flexibility in choosing material for teaching and learning.
• OER leverage the educational value of resources by providing teachers personal
feedback, lessons learned and suggestions for improvements.
• OER facilitate learning communities, such as groups of teachers and learners, with
easy-to-use tools to set up collaborative learning environments.
• OER promote user-centered approaches in education and lifelong learning. Users
are not only consumers of educational content, but create own materials, develop e-
portfolios and share study results and experiences with peers.
Since the early days of the OER movement, different publications have pointed out
why OER are highly relevant for higher education (Caswell et al., 2008; Hylen, 2006;
Johnstone, 2005). For example, the necessity for an own OER strategy was described
by Schaffert (2010) and implemented for the first time at Graz University of Technol-
ogy (Ebner & Stöckler-Penz, 2011).
Non-OER MOOCs in German-speaking Europe
Even though MOOCs might be seen as an incorporation of openness because the
first “O” stands for open, MOOCs are mostly not Open Educational Resources, only
their accessibility and pedagogical conceptualization can be labeled as open (Hollands
& Tirthali, 2014; Lehmann 2013; Rodriguez, 2013; Schulmeister 2013). Hollands &
Tirthali (2014, 27) summarize: “Truly open content is common in cMOOCs but less so
in xMOOCs where ownership of content is often contentious and has to be worked out
between faculty members, their employers, course platform providers, and would-be
adopters of the MOOC content.” The authors point out that contracts are not signed
between instructors and MOOC platform providers, but institutions and platform pro-
viders. That is to say that “the individual instructors are unable to choose whether their
content is made open access” (ibid.). Some instructors even fear the loss of control
over their materials and that the lines between instructors and learners are blurred
(ibid.). On the one hand, ownership, uniqueness and control are the main arguments in
support of providing non-OER MOOCs. On the other hand, financial issues have to be
considered. OER have to be designed and developed; hence, working time and effort
have to be compensated and it is not the user who pays for it, as Kerres and Preußler
(2013) point out. New business models have to be created in order to cope with these
financial considerations. Additionally, several initiatives and members of the OER
movement demand the obligatory development of OER when they are publicly funded
(cf. Bündnis Freie Bildung, 2015).
These limitations hold for MOOCs in general. In her report about views of stake-
holders on MOOCs and the copyright, Cheverie (2013, 2) summarizes that some
stakeholders are concerned by a new situation: “Typically, educational institutions of-
fer […] courses as face-to-face, online, or hybrid classes to a defined group of students
who have registered, been authenticated, and have a specific affiliation with the col-
lege or university. In this model, copyright issues are fairly well known, with appro-
priate policies in place, and copyright law provides guidance.” MOOCs are provided
by third party platforms and their audience is a global one far away from the above
mentioned “defined group of students who have registered”. In German-speaking Eu-
rope the situation is intensified by very tight copyright restrictions that present further
barriers for sharing and sustainability. In this context, Open Educational Resources are
a major need and requirement for open education or even education at all (Bremer &
Robes 2012; Kerres & Preußler 2013).
Challenges for Learners
Copyright concerns that originate from the MOOC movement have been scruti-
nized by Cheverie (2013, 3) who focuses on the US-American law system and identi-
fies new challenges regarding fair use and MOOCs: “What fell under fair use in a tra-
ditional classroom environment, however, might not apply to a MOOC. Similarly,
licensing agreements for the use of third-party content in a traditional course need to
be revisited for MOOC versions of the same course.” For German-speaking countries,
the provision of materials on a server is not only challenging, the distribution of copy-
righted resources on a server might constitute a copyright infringement and, hence, en-
tail criminal proceedings (Hansen & Seehagen-Marx 2013). For the learners these lim-
itations lead to problems regarding ubiquitous accessibility of learning resources and
their use in the learning process. They are not allowed to use, re-use and remix the
learning resources. Hence, the handling of longer videos might be copious, as instruc-
tors are not allowed to shorten them. Finally, even teaching assistants are not allowed
to use the materials and resources provided for their own classroom use as re-use is
prohibited, as well.
iMooX, mooin and the MOOChub
In this section we present an overview of open licensed MOOCs in German in the last
decade, and then describe two OER MOOC platforms, iMooX and mooin in detail.
We conclude with the MOOChub that is a cooperation between iMooX and mooin and
aims to facilitate the offering, sharing and reuse of OER MOOCs. We conducted ex-
tensive research on other German-speaking MOOCs but none of these courses runs
under an open license.
A short history of Open Licensed MOOCs in German
Due to the described barriers resulting from the copyright law even the first MOOCs
in Germany and Austria tried to strictly follow the open licensed model. Table 1 gives
a short overview regarding the history and evolution of those courses.
Date and License
Course Name, URL
Short Description (Participa-
First MOOC in German about
the “Future of Learning” or-
ganized by different stake-
holders, with the MOOC of
Siemens and Downes (2008)
serving as a model
MOOC about “Trends in the
area of e-teaching”, followed
the same format as OPCO11
MOOC about Open Educa-
tional Resources to train
teachers and interested people
about the use of OER in their
Specially for student and
Table 1 OER MOOCs from German Speaking Countries up till 2015
These first MOOCs experienced great success in terms of registered participants and
public responses and can be regarded as pioneers for the two MOOC platforms de-
scribed in the next sections, because teachers and participants of these first MOOCs
are now the providers of iMooX and mooin.
The first OER MOOC platform in German-speaking Europe:
The first OER MOOC platform in German-speaking Europe was founded in 2014 by
the University of Graz and the Graz University of Technology in Austria. The devel-
opment of the platform named “iMooX” started as a project that was partially funded
by the regional Styrian government. Right from the beginning, all the project partners
involved agreed on the fact that all content had to be provided as Open Educational
Resources. Thus, the slogan “education for everybody” was created for the platform to
stress the importance of offering free access and to allow everyone to re-use the pro-
vided material. Providing exclusively Open Educational Resources was the reason for
UNESCO to take iMooX under its patronage.
iMooX is designed to offer classic xMOOCs; in general, courses on the platform
contain video lectures, quizzes for self-assessments and a discussion forum. The de-
velopment of the platform started in 2013, the results from a functional platform as
well as three MOOCs were available in March 2014. These three MOOCs had a total
of 1,300 participants, of which 89% held a high school diploma that enabled them to
study at a university, and 57% had at least a Bachelors degree. Fifty-four percent were
older than 35 years, indicating that more than half of the participants attended the
courses either for further education purposes or because they were personally interest-
ed in the course topic. Eight-five percent percent were satisfied with the functionality
and the design of the platform.
iMooX was established for several reasons. First of all, the platform operators in-
tended to provide free online-courses for the widest possible audience (which includes
those with an academic degree and those without). Secondly, some of the courses are
offered as online-lectures especially for students, who can gain credits by passing an
extra exam. However, these courses are also open for all other target groups. Last but
not least, the platform and its courses support the marketing activities of the universi-
ties involved by displaying excellent examples of academic teaching.
In the winter term 2015, 16 courses were available on the platform and more than
7,700 users had already registered for iMooX. A wide range of courses was offered,
for instance, in the fields of physics, chemistry, computer science, informatics, con-
temporary history and social sciences, and on topics such as “free online learning”, “e-
learning and law”, “social media and school” or “creative digital design for children”
(see Table 2).
In the meantime, iMooX is no longer a project but a more or less regular service
available to all departments and their lecturers. Financing the course production is ra-
ther difficult, though. Since all learning material is meant to be Open Educational Re-
sources there is no business model with which one can earn money. Therefore, the
platform relies on donors, who could be the public sector, NGOs, or even companies.
The creation of every single course has to be separately financed, which is extremely
cumbersome, mainly because one-fifth of each financing must be used to partially
cover the costs of operating the platform itself. Therefore, in the case of iMooX, fi-
nancing course production is the biggest challenge when it comes to producing
MOOCs as Open Educational Resources.
Course Name and Topic
Participation (registered people,
contributions in forum, badges)
Table 2 Selected courses from imoox.at
The German MOOC platform: mooin
The Lübeck University of Applied Sciences (FH Lübeck) in Germany is working on
two MOOC projects. The first one, called “FHL-MOOC,” is funded out of the
“Struktur- und Excellenzfonds” by the Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein for devel-
oping 12 MOOCs to address new target groups. The second one is “pMOOC” (“pro-
fessional MOOC”), funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research
(BMBF) to explore the MOOC format for lifelong education in the academic sector.
Overall, the FH Lübeck plans to offer 40 MOOCs by 2020 on its MOOC platform
mooin and each one should run as OER under a free license.
Lübeck is one of the largest Moodle-hosting universities (Moodle is a widely used
Open Source Learning Management System) in Germany with more than 64,000 users
“Learning in and with the
Internet” – MOOC about
the use of digital media for
teaching and learning
Nearly 1,000 participants in the
first run and more than 1,000 par-
ticipants in the second run
“Gratis Online Lernen” –
Starting to learn in a self-
organized way with free
More than 1,100 registered par-
ticipants in the first run and an-
other 400 in the second run
(2015); more than 23,000 reads in
“Social Aspects of Infor-
mation technology” –
MOOC about how infor-
mation technology influ-
About 900 registered participants
and a final certification rate of
“Course about Open Edu-
cational Resources” –
MOOC about OER
This course was a relaunch of
COER13 (see Table 1) and at-
tracted about 500 participants.
For the first time badges were
used, with about 100 issued
badges for the final examination
“Making with Children” –
MOOC about making ac-
tivities for children
More than 500 registered for this
course and it is still growing. For
the first quiz more than 100
badges were issued.
in more than 25 different Moodle-installations. mooin is based on a Moodle frame-
work with a strong focus on user experience and Web 2.0 technology. For the devel-
opment of mooin three main aspects were considered:
1. Mobil first (Fat Media concept) (Lorenz et al., 2015)
Based on a responsive web design with one-column media elements, the user
experience was optimized for mobile devices. Interactive quizzes are directly
integrated in the videos and provide a wide range of quiz formats and thus sup-
port a wide range of didactical approaches.
2. Gamification by using Open Badges
mooin is the first German MOOC platform supporting Mozilla’s Open Badge
standard (MOBI). The learners can achieve badges for different learning activi-
ties. A badge overview for each MOOC presents the history of the last 20 as-
signed badges. The open list of participants also presents which badges had
been assigned to whom.
3. Social Media
Each mooin-MOOC has its own hashtag. Thus, it has its own URL. Based on
the didactical concept and the strategy for social media marketing, each
MOOC can use its own social media channels like Facebook, Twitter or G+.
mooin supports embedded elements to connect YouTube playlists, Facebook
likeboxes or tweets.
mooin launched in spring 2015 and started with four new and two old MOOCs.
“Hansemooc” and “Grundlagen des Marketing” were offered previously in 2013 and
2014 on different platforms (Moodle and iversity) to gain initial practical experience,
e.g. how MOOCs are to be run and how the platforms are working. As of November
2015, mooin had eight MOOCs with 5,784 users registered and 8,349 course enroll-
ments (44% of the users have two or more MOOCs courses) as shown in Table 3.
Course Name and Topic
Participation (registered people,
contributions in forum, badges,
“Hansemooc” – Historical
MOOC about Lübeck and
the Hanseatic League
3rd offering with 234 participants
(1st and 2nd on Moodle resp. iver-
sity with more than 2,000 partici-
pants), 136 badges issued out of 8
individual Badges (1st MOOC on
mooin for piloting the platform)
“VideoMOOC” – funda-
mentals of video produc-
2,430 participants, 1,012 badges
issued out of 7 individual badges
“Projektmanagement” – 1st
pMOOC on academic level
1,274 participants, 316 badges
awards out from 3 badges
“KLOOC” – MOOC about
sustainability from TU
492 participants, 1,522 badges is-
sued out of 10 individual Badges
“Grundlagen des Market-
ing” – fundamentals on ac-
Third times running with 334 par-
ticipants (1st and 2nd not on mooin
with over 8,000 users), 96 badges
issued out of 4 individual Badges
“Das Digitale Ich” – about
the digital identity is a co-
operation with two adult
1,720 participants, 4,902 badges
issued out of 16 individual badg-
“Corporate Learning” –
MOOC with 8 different
companies about corporate
1,630 participants, 635 badges is-
sued out of 10 individual badges
“MOOC25” – MOOC
about the 25th anniversary
of Germany’s reunification
234 participants, 100 badges is-
sued out of 6 individual badges
Table 3 Selected courses from mooin.de
mooin started as an open platform. Everybody is welcome to run a MOOC for free,
but technical skills are needed to use the backend and the quiz editor (www.capira.de).
Furthermore, knowledge in MOOC production, didactics, teaching and marketing is
needed. The KLOOC was the first MOOC produced by a university other than Lübeck
and was very successful for the Kaiserslautern University of Technology; more coop-
erations will follow. Therefore, the mooin team is still working on tutorials and docu-
mentation to provide better services for third-party institutions wishing to offer a
MOOC using this platform.
After six months, mooin is a main part in the digital strategy of the FH Lübeck and
is part of a long-term OER initiative. Lübeck will support the use of different installa-
tions of Moodle with videos, pictures or whole courses under free licenses, because
the openness of higher education is one the tasks for education in the 21st century in
The MOOChub was founded by the MOOC platforms mooin and iMooX in May
2015. Each platform offers its own MOOCs and links to the courses of the other
MOOChub partners, i.e., the HanseMOOC that runs on mooin is presented on iMooX
and the Graz-MOOC on iMooX is listed on mooin. Thus, each MOOC platform
reaches more potential participants and learners can choose from a wider range of
courses. Since May 2015, 1.4% of all users on mooin clicked on a link on iMooX, thus
imoox.at is the third important external reference with 6.5% for mooin and vice versa
as shown in figure 1.
ADD Figure one HERE
Figure 1 External Referrer activity between iMooX and mooin from March to Novem-
Beyond the agreement to include links to each others courses, further cooperation
between MOOChub partners is planned such as cooperative research, a cooperative
badge portal and experience exchange, e. g. a cooperative MOOC that will be run on
both platforms and will use OER content on both sides. Based on the success of
iMooX and mooin, OER will play a central role in future courses. The MOOChub will
be extended and research will be undertaken. For example, the course on Open Educa-
tional Resources will simultaneously run on both platforms next year to see if more
people can be reached and if the platforms are supplementing each other.
Discussion: Enhancing Education with OER MOOCs
In previous sections in this chapter we provided an overview of copyright laws and
OER in German-speaking Europe and described the OER MOOC platforms iMooX
and mooin in detail. Here we provide examples to discuss how both platforms enhance
education with online courses through OER. OER enable participation, cooperation
with partners, creativity, sustainability of the content, and course impact. OER results
in new ways of teaching.
From the learner’s perspective, it does not matter if course materials are OER or
not, at a first glance. Taking a deeper look, OER enable the use and re-use of course
content in different ways that change the ways in which learners participate: The mate-
rials can be openly shared, and re-used in discussions with other learners, even outside
the platform. The focus is on having more users use the materials and use them in dif-
ferent ways, not so much on having a high number of registered users. This allows (re-
)publishing of the content on other platforms, for example YouTube for the videos.
Depending on the types of learners in a MOOC, this can also have far-reaching
consequences. For example, on completing a two year review of learners in HarvardX
and MITX MOOCs, Ho et al. (2015) shared that one-fifth of the learners in MOOCs
were teachers or instructors where 39% were past or present teachers and 21% current-
ly taught in the topic area of the MOOC they were taking. If a MOOC were to contain
OER and be hosted on an OER platform like mooin or iMooX, and teachers and in-
structors were a significant percentage of the learners taking the MOOC, they would
be able to revise, reuse and adapt the OER for their own learners and their teaching
contexts, greatly increasing the impact and reach of the MOOC. An actual example of
re-use was when the virtual university of teacher education organized an online course
that supplementing two MOOCs on OER (COER15 and COER13). As a result, a so-
called OER-study-guide was developed as a kind of summary of the whole course.
Moreover, it is now available for free online and with an open license and can be used
in other contexts not just by the participants who took it but also by others wishing to
teach about OER.
Cooperation with partners
Our experiences with MOOCs in German-speaking Europe have indicated that they
are attractive for organizations or partners who try to educate a broader public. Never-
theless, in our discussions we determined that OER were more or less a precondition
to start cooperation, otherwise it would be very hard to bring the learning content to
different educational institutions and different teachers and trainers. We provide a
brief list of different types of cooperations below:
• The iMooX course „Gratis Online Lernen“ („Free Online Learning”) was done in
partnership with Volkshochschule Österreich (all adult and community education
centers of Austria) as well as the Volkshochschule Hamburg (the adult and commu-
nity education center of Hamburg). Furthermore, different local groups participated
in the online course with regular weekly face-to-face trainings. The virtual universi-
ty of teacher training in Austria held a virtual weekly training for interested teach-
ers. Due to the OER license, there were no problems with the (re)use of course con-
tent anywhere and by anyone.
• The ichMOOC („meMOOC“) on digital identity on mooin was a co-production
with the Volkshochschule Hamburg and the Bremer Volkshochschule (adult and
community education centers of Hamburg and Bremen). Centers of adult and
community education called “Volkshochschule” are very traditional institutions for
in-class adult education but without an infrastructure for MOOC production – often
even without an infrastructure for low-level technology enhanced learning. The co-
operation not only allows these institutions to produce an online course, but also to
reach a much wider audience than before. The course had 1,633 participants while
it was running and 4,400 course badges have been assigned. The course is licensed
under CC BY, and all 41 videos are available via YouTube. It was the largest
course ever offered by a center for adult and community education (the Volks-
hochschule) in Germany.
• OER and openness of iMooX courses also lead to the usage of the MOOCs through
formal educational programs. For example, the course “Gratis Online Lernen” was
used to teach two classes in online learning at the university of teacher education in
Linz and was integrated into the continuing education program in Bozen, South Ty-
rol (Italy). A new MOOC about the Maker Movement is part of a course at the uni-
versity of technology Köln.
• Because of the 25th anniversary of the German reunification, the Kooperative Berlin
chose mooin to publish their MOOC25 that addresses several research topics of this
field. Funded by the Federal Foundation for the Reappraisal of the SED Dictator-
ship, five researchers gave input on commemoration, happiness, memorials, influ-
ence of media, and literature concerning the German reunification. It started on Oc-
tober 3, 2015 (German Unity Day) and currently has 230 participants. All content is
licensed under CC BY-SA, and all videos are published on YouTube.
• To promote further collaboration, the Lübeck University of Applied Sciences an-
nounced the “MOOC of the Year 2016” contest to support the winning MOOC
concept with fees and services worth a total of € 25.000. One central condition of
the Call for MOOC concepts was that the MOOC had to be licensed under CC BY.
The winning MOOC that addresses the field of unemployment and unemployment
insurance will start in spring/summer 2016.
Impact of the courses and creative solutions
Geser (2007) proposed that OER will lead to creative and new solutions in education.
We list a few creative solutions and impact in German-speaking Europe here:
• The iMooX course “Gratis Online Lernen“ developed a new didactical approach
called inverse blended learning (Ebner et al., 2015). The facilitators created a
course handout in addition to the MOOC content and sent this to the local learning
groups and trainers. The main idea is that the online course will be enhanced by
face-to-face meetings. Inverse blended learning means that an online course is
brought back to face-to-face situations.
• The adult and community education centers used the ichMOOC to build up a net-
work of almost 50 so-called MOOCbars in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Ita-
ly, which were other centers that offered local support for participants of the
ichMOOC. Furthermore, three live sessions were exclusively streamed to these
MOOCbars and motivated the networking of regional MOOC participants. The
Creative Commons licenses allowed each person in a MOOCbar to use the provid-
ed content for further discussions there.
• A further example for the impact of OER MOOCs is that the course “Gratis Online
Lernen” got the Austrian State Prize for Adult Education 2015 due to its impact on
educating a broad public.
Sustainability of the content: Remix and Re-Use
A huge advantage of OER is the sustainability of course contents as well as the ease of
re-use. Users are able to continue to register in courses that are already over to take the
courses at their own pace. Is possible to develop new content from MOOC OER con-
tent to teach different target groups, as mentioned in this chapter. Another interesting
aspect of using OER in MOOCs is the relaunch of courses. For example, the course
about Open Educational Resources (COER13) has been completely downloaded and
re-uploaded to iMooX. The course was restarted in summer 2015 with some new vid-
eos and interviews and attracted more than 500 users. In other words, re-using and re-
mixing allows for the reoffering of courses without supplementary full costs.
Finally, although embedded videos on mooin or iMooX are not recognized by
YouTube analytics because of the Capira quiz layers, some information on the sus-
tainability of the videos is available. Two examples: the ichMOOC playlist was run
1,421 times and saved by 22 users and the 22 videos of “Grundlagen des Marketing”
have 157,000 clicks. All MOOCs on mooin and iMooX are still available, even if the
course is already over. Thus, the whole content is available for everyone. All videos
are additionally published on YouTube, with the aim of bringing Open Educational
Resources to a broad public.
OER MOOCs are essential in the context of copyright laws in German-speaking
Europe. The promotion of MOOCs as learning material or as a basis for in-class teach-
ing in schools, higher education, and training can only be successful if local teachers
may use, adapt and remix the provided content. Further, if MOOCs are to enable self-
directed learning, and also support learning and teaching in groups, OER can play a
central role. The creation of OER MOOCs also opens up opportunities for new ways
of teaching and learning and didactical concepts. Only with an “O” for “Open” in the
sense used in “Open Educational Resource” can MOOCs be really open, foster sus-
tainability, and contribute to a more open and better education and world.
The role of German as a language
Currently all the courses on mooin or iMooX are in German, because both plat-
forms aim to educate the broad public, where German is the native and/or common
language. Furthermore, the local financial supporters and regional governments are
strongly interested in enhancing education in the region. These goals are supported by
the learners’ data. An initial analysis of the platform iMooX revealed that about 20%
of the learners are directly from the region nearest to the location of the initiative, an
additional 49% are from Austria, a further 15% come from the German-speaking area
and only 16% from a non-German-speaking area. An analysis of the platform
YouTube in the case of iMooX reveals that 52% of the users come from Austria and
42% from Germany, Switzerland and Italy, indicating that the videos more or less at-
tract learners from those areas. In other words, MOOCs offered in a particular lan-
guage mainly address the needs of the region where they are placed. This fact makes it
essential that our MOOCs are in the language of our learners.
OER: A challenging opportunity
The development and usage of OER is an opportunity, but is also very challenging.
Based on our experiences, the main challenges are listed below:
• First of all, OER is a matter of copyright, and the development of open licensed
materials most of the time constitutes the (new) development of everything. Addi-
tionally, the usage of OER needs to be discussed with contributors and developers,
needs their support, and involves changes, e.g. in author contracts.
• Second, OER limits the opportunities of commercialization of course materials.
From a business perspective, OER MOOCs require different modes of (co-) financ-
ing, e.g. when the MOOC content cannot not be simultaneously used in paid cours-
• OER apart, the development of an online course and multimedia content is a chal-
lenge for most experts and contributors, even if they are from media or learning re-
lated fields or are instructional designers. e.g. the trailer of the ichMOOC is the on-
ly video of the course that could not be published under an open license, because of
the background music that was bought from a commercial platform.
In this chapter we described the need for OER MOOCs in German-speaking Eu-
rope and the implementation of exclusively OER MOOCs by the providers iMooX and
mooin. We also discussed how the combination of OER and MOOCs has powerful
advantages, especially with respect to copyright law in education, cooperation
amongst partners, the sustainability of learning content, course visibility and impact,
and innovative and creative solutions.
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