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In this chapter, we discuss why open educational resources (OER) and MOOCs are a necessary and powerful combination, especially in German-speaking Europe. We begin with an introduction 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 education.
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
German-Speaking Europe
Martin Ebner
Educational Technology, Graz University of Technology, Münzgrabenstraße 35a, A-8010 Graz, e-
Anja Lorenz
Institute for Learning Services, Lübeck University of Applied Sciences, Mönkhofer Weg 239, D-
23562 Lübeck, Geb. 36, e-Mail:
Elke Lackner
Academy of New Media and Knowledge Transfer, University of Graz, Liebiggasse 9, A-8010
Graz, e-Mail:
Michael Kopp
Academy of New Media and Knowledge Transfer, University of Graz, Liebiggasse 9, A-8010
Graz, e-Mail:
Swapna Kumar
School of Teaching and Learning, G518D Norman Hall, College of Education, University of
Florida, Gainesville, USA. e-EmMail:
Sandra Schön
InnovationLab, Salzburg Research Forschungsgesellschaft, Jakob-Haringer-Straße 5/3, A-5020
Salzburg, e-Mail:
Andreas Wittke
Institute for Learning Services, Lübeck University of Applied Sciences, Mönkhofer Weg 239,
Geb. 36, D-23562 Lübecke-Mail:
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 openin the sense of
Open Education to openin 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 studentslearning 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-
tion, Content)
May-July 2011;
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
April-July 2012;
MOOC about “Trends in the
area of e-teaching”, followed
the same format as OPCO11
March-June 2013;
MOOC about Open Educa-
tional Resources to train
teachers and interested people
about the use of OER in their
daily life.
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.
Date and
Course Name and Topic
Table 2 Selected courses from
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
“Gratis Online Lernen”
Starting to learn in a self-
organized way with free
Internet resources
“Social Aspects of Infor-
mation technology”
MOOC about how infor-
mation technology influ-
ences society
“Course about Open Edu-
cational Resources”
MOOC about OER
“Making with Children”
MOOC about making ac-
tivities for children
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.
Date and
Course Name and Topic
Hansemooc Historical
MOOC about Lübeck and
the Hanseatic League
“VideoMOOC” funda-
mentals of video produc-
“Projektmanagement” 1st
pMOOC on academic level
about fundamentals
“KLOOC” MOOC about
sustainability from TU
“Grundlagen des Market-
ing” fundamentals on ac-
ademic level
“Das Digitale Ich” about
the digital identity is a co-
operation with two adult
education centers
“Corporate Learning”
MOOC with 8 different
companies about corporate
about the 25th anniversary
of Germany’s reunification
Table 3 Selected courses from
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 (
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
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 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.
Enabling Participation
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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... at. This platform is itself dedicated to OER (Kopp & Ebner, 2015;Ebner et al., 2016c). Since 2015, courses on OER have been offered on the platform, and a special MOOC for OER in HEI was implemented in 2017 and has been offered three times since (see; Ebner et al., 2016c). ...
... This platform is itself dedicated to OER (Kopp & Ebner, 2015;Ebner et al., 2016c). Since 2015, courses on OER have been offered on the platform, and a special MOOC for OER in HEI was implemented in 2017 and has been offered three times since (see; Ebner et al., 2016c). Within the Open Education Austria Advanced project, the MOOC in question will be re-developed and produced according to the competence framework described above. ...
Full-text available
The “Forum Neue Medien in der Lehre Austria” (fnma) is responsible for the development and introduction of a procedure to attest open educational resources (OER) competences and OER activities in higher education. The aim is to develop and implement a convincing and recognized procedure that succeeds in sustainably promoting and making visible OER activities and OER competences at Austria’s higher education institutions. Within this paper, the development of the Austrian OER certification approach, in other words its framework, will be addressed. A working plan and first results will be presented; among others, the competence framework and its compatibility with existing frameworks.
... acht Prozent der externen Referrer über die gegenseitige Verlinkung festgestellt werden. 22 ...
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Das Buch versammelt die Beiträge der ersten Open-Access-Roadshow Schleswig-Holstein, die vom 11. bis 14. November 2019 in Kiel, Flensburg und Lübeck stattgefunden hat. Auf der interdisziplinären Veranstaltung wurden zentrale Themen rund um Open Access und Open Science beleuchtet, angefangen bei den politischen Rahmenbedingungen und notwendigen Weichenstellungen im universitären Publikationsbetrieb über Erfolge und Herausforderungen bei der Open-Access-Transformation in Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg und Brandenburg bis hin zu digitalen Angeboten im Bereich der Lehre und Bildung, die Open Educational Resources (OER). Was Open Access für Verlage bedeutet, wird ebenso berücksichtigt wie die Themen Predatory Publishing, DEAL, Plan S und vieles mehr. Die Beiträge geben einen Überblick über den aktuellen Stand von Open Access und zeigen auf, wie ein künftiger nachhaltiger Kulturwandel hin zu mehr Offenheit in Wissenschaft und Forschung gelingen könnte.
... Since 2017, OER have also been mentioned in the development plan and in the university performance agreement (TU Graz 2017, p. 60, TU Graz andBMBWF, 2018). At TU Graz there are already several OER activities that include the operation of the Austriawide MOOC platform, on which online courses are offered exclusively as OER (Ebner, Lorenz et al., 2016), OER training for teachers and a dedicated OER repository (Ladurner et al., 2020). To further strengthen, expand and strategically anchor the existing OER activities, the performance agreement for 2019-2021 between the TU Graz and the science ministry stated that an OER policy would be developed (TU Graz and BMBWF 2018, p. 11). ...
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The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of approaches to and insights for impact assessment on open educational resources (OER) in higher education and building on this to sketch a framework for university focussed OER impact assessment. The authors describe the literature on impact assessment in the OER context and the existing contributions to OER impact assessment in higher education. Findings of the analysis are that there are few contributions on the effects of OER in general or of specific OER initiatives. Four contributions are presented in more detail. From these examples and the literature analysis, derivations, and challenges for OER impact assessment are drawn, such as the large diversity in OER purposes and the invisibility of the re-usage of OER. The contribution sketches a framework model for describing OER-relevant results, outcomes, and impact, and more specifically demonstrates how this can be done for exemplary OER-related objectives. This contribution is thus of relevance to funding bodies and institutions working in the context of higher education that wish to systematically evaluate and monitor statements about the effectiveness of OER activities according to the UNESCO (2019) OER recommendation.
... counts about 50,000 registered users and has hosted more than 200 MOOCs so far. A unique characteristic of is that all courses are licensed as open educational resources (in short OER, Schaffert & Geser, 2008) and therefore available under CC licenses, so it is possible to (re-)use as well as to modify them (Ebner et al., 2016). Several MOOCs are part of lectures at universities or provided by partner universities, so that a variety of design concepts such as blended MOOCs or pre-MOOCs (Ebner, Schön & Braun, 2020) or a design alternative coined as Inverse Blended MOOC (Ebner & Schön, 2019) have already been explored. ...
Conference Paper
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The analysis of learner data in MOOCs provides numerous opportunities to look for patterns that may indicate participants' learning strategies. In this article, we investigated how participants in a MOOC (N=1,200), in which they must successfully complete a quiz in each unit, deal with the fact that they can repeat this quiz up to five times. On the one hand, patterns can be identified regarding the success of the quiz attempts: For example, 32.7% of the course participants always repeat the quizzes up to a full score, while about 16.0% of the participants repeat, but only until they pass all quizzes. Regarding the number of attempts, independent of the success, there is only a uniformity in "single attempt"; 12.6% of the participants only take exactly one attempt at each of the quizzes in the MOOC. An analysis of a subgroup of 80 learners which were students of a course where the MOOC was obligatory, shows that the proportion of learners attributed to patterns making more attempts is generally bigger. It can be shown as well that learners who uses several attempts, even after a full score results, tend to get better exam. The article concludes by discussing how these patterns can be interpreted and how they might influence future MOOC developments.
... counts about 60,000 registered users and has hosted more than 100 MOOCs so far. A unique characteristic of is that all courses are licensed as open educational resources (in short OER, Schaffert and Geser 2008) and therefore available under CC-licenses, so it is possible to (re-)use as well as modify them (Ebner et al. 2016). Several MOOCs are part of lectures at universities or provided by partner universities, so that a variety of design concepts such as blended MOOCs or pre-MOOCs (Ebner et al. 2020) or a design alternative coined as Inverse Blended MOOC (Ebner and Schön 2019) have already been explored. ...
ICL2021 was the 24th edition of the International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning and the 50th edition of the IGIP International Conference on Engineering Pedagogy. This interdisciplinary conference aims to focus on the exchange of relevant trends and research results as well as the presentation of practical experiences in Interactive Collaborative Learning and Engineering Pedagogy. ICL2021 has been organized by Technische Universität Dresden and University of Applied Science Dresden, Germany, from September 22 to 24, 2021, as a hybrid event. This year’s theme of the conference was “Mobility for Smart Cities and Regional Development – Challenges for Higher Education”.
... counts about 60,000 registered users and has hosted more than 100 MOOCs so far. A unique characteristic of is that all courses are licensed as open educational resources (in short OER,Schaffert & Geser, 2008) and therefore available under CC-licenses, so that the (re-) usage as well as modification is possible(Ebner et al., 2016). Several MOOCs are part of lectures at universities, as well provided from partner universities, so that a variety of design concepts such as blended MOOC or pre-MOOC (Ebner, Schön & Braun, 2020) or a design alternative coined as Inverse Blended MOOC (Ebner & Schön, 2019) was already explored. ...
Full-text available
Massive open online course (MOOC) platforms within the so-called xMOOC framework typically host quizzes, sometimes as part of the course assessment. Within our contribution we look at and describe quizzes and their results as a feedback for learners. Additionally, we describe current research on quizzes in MOOCs, especially from a learning analytics perspective. Building upon this, we explore data from a single MOOC (N = 1,484) from the Austrian MOOC platform where quizzes are used for final assessment but can be repeated up to five times within the course. The analysis of quiz activities shows a moderate correlation (r = 0,2765, N = 957) of the very first attempt with the final MOOC success.
... Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are online courses for many people ("massive"), i.e., more than 150 participants [7]. The term "open" is used because the first MOOCs were offered by university members, but were accessible online without formal restrictions, such as a university entrance qualification, and usually free of charge [7,8]. MOOCs were never meant for students only; rather, they were always intended for other target groups, such as employees, seniors, employees or "lifelong learners" in general. ...
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Digital skills are now essential, not only in information and communications technology (ICT) jobs, but for employees across all sectors. The aim of this article is to detail how employees’ digital skills can be fostered through a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), how such an offer is used and what the effects of such a measure are. Using an approach oriented at action research and design-based research activities, the authors describe the basics of their finding on existing European competence frameworks for digital skills and European projects that used MOOCs, the development and design of the MOOC, the evaluation on the basis of learning analytics insights and a questionnaire, as well as a reflection. The MOOC was offered as Open Educational Resources (OER) on the Austrian MOOC platform from March to April 2021, with 2083 participants, of whom 381 fully completed the course (at end of June 2021) and 489 filled out the final questionnaire.
... and was repeated in a similar, partly modified way, also by the MOOC platform of the FH-Lübeck. In 2017 the same online course was offered simultaneously on both platforms (Ebner et al., 2016c). A variant of the course, which is now mainly aimed at teachers in universities, was run on iMooX in 2019 as part of the "Open Education Austria" project. ...
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The initiative "Open Education Austria Advanced'' develops infrastructures for open educational resources (OER) in higher education. One part is the development of certification procedures to point out OER competencies of teachers in higher education and OER activities at Austrian universities. We present the results of our research on existing OER certification procedures from the German and English-speaking world. We started by searching in the OER World Map and there listed OER policies of universities worldwide and then tried to find examples for existing OER certification for people and organisations. There are several examples for certifications of persons such as in MOOCs on OER, university training on OER or the Creative Commons certification itself. We found only a few references of (partly) OER certificates for organisations. The publication then describes ambitions towards openness of the OER movement regarding possible certification procedures, namely open development, open content, open assessment and open certificates.
... Copyright law is, especially in Middle Europe is a strong law [25]. Copyright and also rights of use can therefore not be transferred to others or the public very easily. ...
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This paper discusses the general thesis that massive open online courses (in short MOOC), open educational resources (in short OER) and learning analytics are an impactful trio for future education, especially if combined. The contribution bases upon our practical experience as service providers and researchers in the department “Educational Technology” at Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) in Austria. The team members provide support to lecturers, teachers and researchers in these addressed fields for several years now, for example as host of the MOOC platform, providing only OER since 2015. Within this contribution, we will show, against some doubtful or conflicting opinions and positions, that (a) MOOCs are opening-up education; (b) learning analytics give insights and support learning, not only online learning, if implemented in MOOCs; and (c) that OER has the potential for sustainable resources, innovations and even more impact, especially if implemented in MOOCs.
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Schön, Sandra; Leitner, Philipp; Lindner, Jakob & Ebner, Martin (2023). Learning Analytics in Hochschulen und Künstliche Intelligenz. Eine Übersicht über Einsatzmöglichkeiten, erste Erfahrungen und Entwicklungen von KI-Anwendungen zur Unterstützung des Lernens und Lehrens. In: Tobias Schmohl, Alice Watanabe, Kathrin Schelling (Hg.), Künstliche Intelligenz in der Hochschulbildung, Bielefeld: transkript, S. 27-49. Online zugänglich unter: Erschienen unter der Lizenz CC BY SA 4.0 International ( nses/by-sa/4.0/
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Offene Bildungsressourcen (engl. Open Educational Resources, kurz OER) sind frei zugängliche, nutzbare und häufig auch modifizierbare Online-Ressourcen für das Lernen und Lehren. Seit Anfang des 21. Jahrhunderts begann das Thema mit einer zunehmenden Zahl an Projekten, Berichten und Mitwirkenden immer bekannter zu werden. Zahlreiche Argumente, unter anderem bildungspolitische, didaktische wie auch wirtschaftliche, spre- chen dafür, sich an der Erstellung von OER zu beteiligen. In diesem Beitrag werden ausgewählte OER-Initiativen und -Projekte vorgestellt, die Potenziale von OER diskutiert und Motive für die Einführung von OER-Strategien an Hochschulen beschrieben. Zudem werden auch praktische Tipps zur Recherche, Erstellung und zum Austausch von OER gegeben. Der Beitrag schließt mit einem Abschnitt, der darauf hinweist, dass bei offenen Bildungsressourcen sich nicht nur der Vertriebsweg deutlich von traditionellen Lernobjekten (z. B. gedruckte Lehrbücher und Arbeitsmaterialien) unterscheidet, sondern dass auch weitere Prozesse einfach anders sind, u. a. das Qualitätsmanagement.
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What happens when well-known universities offer online courses, assessments, and certificates of completion for free? Early descriptions of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have emphasized large enrollments, low certification rates, and highly educated registrants. We use data from two years and 68 open online courses offered by Harvard University (via HarvardX) and MIT (via MITx) to broaden the scope of answers to this question. We describe trends over this two-year span, depict participant intent using comprehensive survey instruments, and chart course participation pathways using network analysis. We find that overall participation in our MOOCs remains substantial and that the average growth has been steady. We explore how diverse audiences — including explorers, teachers-as-learners, and residential students — provide opportunities to advance the principles on which HarvardX and MITx were founded: access, research, and residential education.
Conference Paper
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Unter der Abkürzung MOOC werden Online-Kurse verstanden, die sich poten- tiell an viele hundert TeilnehmerInnen richten. Auch der Kurs „Gratis Online Lernen“ ist auf den ersten Blick ein reines Online-Angebot. Da es sich bei der Zielgruppe um EinsteigerInnen beim Lernen handelt, wurde jedoch besonderer Wert darauf gelegt, den Kurs mit der Lebenswelt der TeilnehmerInnen zu ver- knüpfen. Die entsprechenden Aktivitäten des so bezeichneten „Inverse-Blended- Learning-Konzeptes“ führten zu einer beträchtlich hohen Abschlussquote: Von den bis Dezember 2014 849 registrierten TeilnehmerInnen wurden 383 mindes- tens einmal im Kurs aktiv, und von diesen wiederum haben 115 (30%) den Kurs erfolgreich abgeschlossen.
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The last five years have witnessed a hype about MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) presaging a revolution in higher education. Although all MOOCs have in common their scale and free access, they have already bifurcated in two very distinct types of courses when compared in terms of their underpinning theory, format and structure, known as c-MOOCs and x-MOOCs. The concept of openness behind each of the formats is also very different. Previous studies have shown that c-and x-MOOCs share some common features but that they clearly differ on the learning theory and pedagogical model on which they stand. In this paper we extend earlier findings and concentrate on the concept of “openness” behind each format showing important differences.
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Over the past few years, observers of higher education have speculated about dramatic changes that must occur to accommodate more learners at lower costs and to facilitate a shift away from the accumulation of knowledge to the acquisition of a variety of cognitive and non-cognitive skills. All scenarios feature a major role for technology and online learning. Massive open online courses(MOOCs) are the most recent candidates being pushed forward to fulfill these ambitious goals. To date, there has been little evidence collected that would allow an assessment of whether MOOCs do indeed provide a cost-effective mechanism for producing desirable educational outcomes at scale. It is not even clear that these are the goals of those institutions offering MOOCs. This report investigates the actual goals of institutions creating MOOCs or integrating them into their programs, and reviews the current evidence regarding whether and how these goals are being achieved, and at what cost.
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Kurzfassung Der Zugang zu offenen Bildungsressourcen – Open Educational Resources (OER) – wird in der heutigen Zeit viel diskutiert, angestrebt und auch eingefordert. Dieser Beitrag widmet sich dem Thema aus Sicht einer Universität und unter dem Gesichtspunkt der für sie geltenden spezifischen Rahmenbedingungen. Auf Basis eines Modells wird gezeigt, welche Maßnahmen an der Technischen Universität Graz getroffen werden und welche Ziele dahinter stehen. Eine kurze Darstellung bereits durchgeführter Aktivitäten rundet den Beitrag ab.
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The role of distance education is shifting. Traditionally distance education was limited in the number of people served because of production, reproduction, and distribution costs. Today, while it still costs the university time and money to produce a course, technology has made it such that reproduction costs are almost non-existent. This shift has significant implications, and allows distance educators to play an important role in the fulfillment of the promise of the right to universal education. At little or no cost, universities can make their content available to millions. This content has the potential to substantially improve the quality of life of learners around the world. New distance education technologies, such as OpenCourseWares, act as enablers to achieving the universal right to education. These technologies, and the associated changes in the cost of providing access to education, change distance education's role from one of classroom alternative to one of social transformer.
The role of distance education is shifting. Traditionally distance education was limited in the number of people served because of production, reproduction, and distribution costs. Today, while it still costs the university time and money to produce a course, technology has made it such that reproduction costs are almost non-existent. This shift has significant implications, and allows distance educators to play an important role in the fulfillment of the promise of the right to universal education. At little or no cost, universities can make their content available to millions. This content has the potential to substantially improve the quality of life of learners around the world. New distance education technologies, such as OpenCourseWares, act as enablers to achieving the universal right to education. These technologies, and the associated changes in the cost of providing access to education, change distance education's role from one of classroom alternative to one of social transformer.
Conference Paper
With mooin, the Lübeck University of Applied Sciences builds its own MOOC platform upon the open source learning management system (LMS) Moodle. To gather the needed features, experiences with MOOC platforms, known challenges and further objectives were analysed. Consequences for the platform development were derived in the fields of media design and mobile access, social media integration, sustainability and gamification – among them a number of interesting features for further experiments.