Summary of International Conference on MOOCs, Informal Language Learning, and Mobility

On 20th and 21st October 2016, The Open University (UK) School of Languages and Applied Linguistics hosted the first MOOCs, Informal Language Learning, and Mobility conference. This international conference was attended by more than eighty academics from sixteen countries, European and further afield including China, Ghana, India, Lithuania and USA. Forty seven institutions were represented. Thirty one people presented their work, including two keynote speakers and poster presentations on the themes of MOOC design, MOOC evaluation, mobile language learning and Open Education Resources.

The conference was financially supported by the EU Erasmus+ MOVE-ME project, of which The Open University is one of the six partners. The MOVE-ME project team gave two presentations: Internationalization of Higher Education and the Use of MOOCS to Improve Second Language Proficiency: the MOVE-ME project; and The MOVE-ME project: reflecting on xMOOC and cMOOC structure and pedagogical implementation.

Technology within the main lecture theatre enabled participation at the conference from far beyond the Open University’s campus in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom, as the plenary sessions were live streamed. This enabled many academics and students in the UK and outside UK, such as Beijing Foreign Studies University’s School of Online and Continuing Education, and Beijing Open University’s School of International Cultural Studies in China to attend the conference online. The London Bureau of the Chinese Xinhua News Agency reported the conference. Recordings of the plenary sessions are available by visiting:

Day 1: http://stadium.open.ac.uk/stadia/preview.php?s=1&whichevent=2723&option=both&record=0
Day 2: http://stadium.open.ac.uk/stadia/preview.php?s=1&whichevent=2724&option=both&record=0

Many thought-provoking conversations and discussions were stimulated by the presentations, and there were opportunities to continue these over coffee and lunch breaks. The atmosphere of the thirteenth century Swan Inn added a traditional dimension to the conference dinner conversations.

The conference set up a hashtag #IC_MOVEME. It is clear from feedback that the event was very well received by all who attended. The following are a few Twitter and email messages after the conference:

  • “Thanks to everyone at #IC_MOVEME for a stimulating conference”
  • “Well done for organising a fabulous conference”
  • “Thank you very much for a wonderful conference. We enjoyed it a lot and it was a true forum for discussion.”
  • “It was a great opportunity to learn from very well known experts and to share the first steps of my research as PhD student.”

For a collection of tweets compiled by Alessia Plutino, please visit: https://storify.com/alesoton/international-conference-on-moocs-and-informal-mob

In short, the conference was a highly successful cooperation between the Open University’s School of Language and Applied Linguistics and the EU Erasmus+ MOVE-ME project, showcasing a wide range of stimulating digital innovations in language education. We are all looking forward to the next one!

[By Chris EDWARDS, KAN Qian and Stephen BAX]

What happens in Milton Keynes…. doesn’t stay in Milton Keynes! Share this with like minded people!

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