Futuribles Journal n° 398


Higher Education and the Digital Challenge. MOOC: on the Importance of an Epiphenomenon


ICT in general and the spread of the Internet in particular have substantially changed ways of life in the developed countries and also in the developing world. Among other things, they have appreciably expanded the possibilities of access to different forms of knowledge and opened up new opportunities in the education sector with regard to both the dissemination of knowledge and teaching techniques. For a number of years now, for example, MOOCs –Massive Open Online Courses– and their evident success have raised a number of questions in the higher education field. How important are they? In what respects are they innovative (or not)? What lines of development do they open up?

Pierre Mœglin has looked at the question and analyses it in this article. Examining these new forms of distance-learning in some depth and detail, both in their educational implications and their impact on various related cultural sectors, he comes to a nuanced view of the innovative character of MOOCs. He regards them more as an epiphenomenon than a genuine social phenomenon and sees the success of MOOCs and the debates they have prompted as pointing to a number of significant changes in the educational and cultural sectors not unrelated to economic considerations.

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