MOOCs and other animals in Wales: what do you think?

May 10, 2013 1 Comment


Interested in MOOCs and other forms of online learning as they affect Wales?  If so, read on …

In February 2013, Leighton Andrews AM, the Welsh Government Minister for Education and Skills , announced the establishment of the Online Digital Learning Resources Working Group. The Working Group is chaired by the former National Librarian of Wales, Andrew Green, and has been asked to advise the Minister on how Wales and Welsh institutions should take advantage of the rapid growth of large-scale online higher education courses. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are the subject of much current debate, and the Group will be considering their significance and prospects, but it will also be looking at wider aspects of learning online, including open educational resources.

The terms of reference of the Group are to advise the Welsh Government on:

  • the potential competitive threat posed by global technology-based developments to the higher education sector in Wales
  •  the potential opportunities afforded by technological development for the Welsh higher education sector at a time of constrained public expenditure
  • to what extent the Welsh higher education sector is working collectively to bring economies of scale to maximise the opportunities afforded
  •  to what extent technological development may provide a platform to increase participation in part-time and full-time higher education, again in a period of constrained public spending.

The Group has been asked to report to the Minister in September 2013.

More details about the Group’s task and its membership are available here.

Members of the Group would like to hear from your institution and its members on this subject, to help inform their discussions.  In particular we should appreciate your answers to these questions:

1  Your current activity

Do you currently provide online learning courses beyond the walls of your institution, either independently or in partnership with other organisations? (Please include summaries or references where appropriate.)

2  Threats, potentials and plans

Do you regard the rapid growth of MOOCs and other new online provision as a threat to your institution’s interests? If so, is it likely that you will respond to the threat within the next three years? If so, in what ways? Do you think there is a potential in collective action, e.g. on an all- Wales basis, to support Welsh medium learning, or in other areas?

3  Aims and contexts

Towards what aims and in which contexts do you think large-scale online learning would be of particular interest to you? (Widening access to higher education? Professional and workplace learning? International students?)

4  Barriers and risks

What are the main barriers to taking action? How well prepared are your staff, and your technological infrastructure? Are there legal or commercial considerations? What are the main risks to you?

5  The student and the employer

How should a satisfactory learning experience for students be guaranteed in large-scale online learning? And how should accreditation of learning attainment be managed?

6  Other information and views?

Do you have any other information or views on online learning you would like to share with us, from your own particular point of view?

The Welsh Government will be publishing a summary of responses received alongside the report from the Working Group in September. The summary will not identify individual respondents but we may wish to quote from responses where this will be helpful in highlighting key themes and issues. We may also invite some respondents to provide more detailed presentations to the Working Group.

Please send your response to:

Digital Learning branch
ICT Unit
Department for Education and Skills
Welsh Government Offices
Sarn Mynach
Llandudno Junction
LL31 9RZ

Or via email to

to arrive by 31 May 2013.

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  1. MOOCs and other animals in Wales: what do you think? | WHELF | May 21, 2013

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