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Aussies launch ESL MOOC, Brits close behind

The first Massive Open Online English Course – MOOEC– has been launched in Australia with more than 50 lessons developed by 15 Queensland colleges and universities. The roll out is the first effort to take the "showcasing" success of Massive Open Online Courses to the English language learning sector.
December 9 2013
2 Min Read

The first Massive Open Online English Course (MOOEC) has been launched in Australia with more than 50 lessons developed by 15 Queensland colleges and universities. The roll out is the first effort to take the “showcasing” success of Massive Open Online Courses to the English language learning sector.

The platform’s creators, not-for-profit International Education Services, say more than 100 lessons are planned for release over the next six months and more Australian institutions have committed to joining the consortia to offer lessons to students within Australia and across the globe, especially in the Asia-Pacific.

“The movement towards free, online education is a key development in Higher Education and the MOOEC intends to play an important complementary role in bringing language learning to a wider audience,” explained, IES Managing Director, Chris Evason.

“We are seeking to use our extensive network of 20,000 industry professionals worldwide, to help us reach learners in every country in the world.”

“The MOOEC is a great initiative for showcasing Australia’s expertise in English language teaching to a global audience”

The use of MOOCs as a recruitment tool has seen varying success among higher education institutions and has been at the forefront of the debate on how to make them financially beneficial.

IES is hopeful students who view the free lessons “may be persuaded to enrol in one of the participating educational institutions as a result”.

A virtual world for practising English skills and recording technology to improve pronunciation are among the platform’s features as well as planned mobile apps. Unlike a MOOC, MOOEC offers no assessment at the end of the course.

Director of Australia’s ELICOS peak body English Australia Sue Blundell said the MOOEC is “a great initiative for showcasing Australia’s expertise in English language teaching to a global audience.”

The announcement comes just one month before the UK’s MOOC platform, Futurelearn, will collaborate with the British Council to launch its first MOOC designed to improve English proficiency in India.

Futurelearn, will collaborate with the British Council to launch its first MOOC designed to improve English proficiency in India

In addition to providing a portfolio of English language MOOCs, the platform will serve as a route for learners to take the IELTS test, which the British Council partially owns.

“India is already FutureLearn’s second biggest market in terms of overall visits to courses by enrolled learners, with many drawn to topics that could enhance career development and employability,” said Simon Nelson, Chief Executive of FutureLearn.

“This new initiative with British Council provides a valuable opportunity for us to support the development of English language and communication skills for our learners around the world.”

The British Council Futurelearn MOOC will be available in 2014.

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