The Higher Education landscape is changing. As the information economy progresses, demand for a more highly, and differently, qualified workforce and citizens increases, and HE Institutions face the challenge of training, reskilling and upskilling people throughout their lives, rather than providing a one-time in-depth education. The corporate and NGO sectors are themselves exploring the benefits of a more qualified online approach to training, and are entering the education market in collaboration with HE Institutions, but also autonomously or via new certifying agencies. Technology is the other significant player in this fast-changing scenario. It allows for new, data-driven ways of measuring learning outcomes, new forms of curriculum definition and compilation, and alternative forms of recruitment strategy via people analytics.
At the MOOC crossroads where the three converge, we ask ourselves whether university degrees are still the major currency in the job market, or whether a broader portfolio of qualifications and micro-credentials may be emerging as an alternative. What implications does this have for educational practice? What policy decisions are required? And as online access eliminates geographical barriers to learning, but the growing MOOC market is increasingly dominated by the big American platforms, what strategic policy do European HE Institutions wish to adopt in terms of branding, language and culture?