Every human being has the fundamental right to achieve their maximum potential in life. However, there is a crisis involving refugees and migrants around the world of an unprecedented magnitude. According to data provided by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, half of displaced persons are under 18 years old. This displacement can last from a few months to many years (or a lifetime), which means that more than a generation are being deprived of the most basic levels of education and even from training that could enable them to have a dignified existence and an independent career, according to their own choices and potential abilities. Since it is, for the time being, not feasible for displaced persons to access formal face-to-face primary, secondary and tertiary institutions on a stable basis, the authors argue that MOOCs offer a way to address these challenging scenarios, especially in terms of the flexible and collaborative exploitation of popular free/open systems. Achieving institutional recognition for participation in these courses requires a dialogue between the different agents involved in internationalisation, student mobility and open education within and across the MOONLITE partner institutions. Such a dialogue requires an understanding not only of the currently available MOOCs in the areas of entrepreneurship and language learning, but also of their underlying technological and pedagogical framework, and how they are intended to help the students develop the relevant knowledge and skills. Given the fact that typically individuals living under disadvantaged circumstances have only limited low bandwidth Internet access and mobile phones as their only option to learn online, it is important that such courses deploy well on these devices.
Before any non-formal and open learning activities undertaken by displaced persons can form part of any HE recognition process, they have to be able to undertake the courses. To this end, initiating collaboration between HE partners, MOOC providers, and the myriad of national and international support groups will enable educators to better adapt and prepare open online courses and resources to the needs of participants (registered students, and particularly refugees and migrants). To this end, a meta-MOOC is also being designed to be deployed during the project for policy makers, governmental and social support groups, educators and other stakeholders to coordinate and empower practices that will potentiate the uptake of this initiative.
Witthaus, G., dos Santos, A.I., Childs, M., Tannhäuser, A.C., Conole, G., Nkuyubwatsi, B., & Punie, Y. (2016). Validation of Non-formal MOOC-based Learning: An Analysis of Assessment and Recognition Practices in Europe (OpenCred) (No. JRC96968). Institute for Prospective and Technological Studies, Joint Research Centre. http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/bitstream/JRC96968/lfna27660enn.pdf