Can MOOCs save Europe's unemployed youth?


Workshop at EC TEL 2014 in Graz

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


Let's continue the discussion on the MOOCs for web talent Network discussion space.



The EC’s Digital Agenda for Europe recently launched the Startup Europe MOOCs project, which aims to accelerate web entrepreneurship in Europe by encouraging the use of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) focused on web design and development skills. This is done through a combination of two activities: firstly, a scoping study to chart the landscape in terms of demand and supply and secondly, a network of universities and business schools in Europe interested in developing MOOCs for web talent.




09:00 Welcome and introductions

09:15 Presenting the findings from the StartUp Europe MOOCs study

Slides available here


10:00 Coffee break

10:30 Paper session (20 minute presentations)


Title: Participative Design of qMOOCs with Deep Learning and 3d Virtual Immersive Environments: the case of MOOCAgora

Authors: Stylianos Mystakidis and Eleni Berki

Slides available here


Title: How EMMA approach can help to foster the EU employability

Authors: Francis Brouns, Kairit Tammets and Carmen L. Padrón-Nápoles


Title: The case for employability through MOOC participation: affordances of the personal learning environment

Authors: Su White, Hugh C Davis, Manuel Leon and Kate Dickens

Slides available here


12:00 Discussion

12:30 Lunch

13:30 MOOC platform panel (10 minute demo + 30min Q&A)

          -Thomas Staubitz, OpenHPI, the slides are available here.

          -Pierre Dubuc, Open Classrooms

          -Catherine Mongenet, FUN

          -Uta Schwertel, Open Course World, the slides are available here.


14:30 Paper session: (20 minute presentations)


Title: How can the EMMA approach to learning analytics improve employability?

Authors: Francis Brouns, Kairit Tammets and Carmen L. Padrón-Nápoles

Slides available here


Title: MOOCs and Retention: Does it really matter?

Authors: Tharindu Liyanagunawardena, Karsten Lundqvist, Patrick Parslow and Shirley Williams

Slides available here


Title: THE VIRGILIO PROJECT. Using Moocs and Serious Games to support students decision making for an informed selection of university curriculum

Authors: Raffaele Di Fuccio, Rossanna De Rosa, Mauro Calise, Davide Marocco and Orazio Miglino


15:30 Break

15:45 Plenary: response to presentations by Davinia Hernández-Leo & Carlos Delgado Kloos

Slides available here


16:45 Closing discussion

17:30 End


Follow us on twitter @OpenEduEUand through the #webmoocs hashtag




The purpose of this workshop is to critically examine the assumptions behind this initiative and to review its initial findings. Some of the questions we will explore are:
  • - What are the gaps between demand from entrepreneurs seeking qualified personnel and young Europeans seeking employment, and the supply from institutions providing MOOCs?
  • - What are the benefits and costs of providing a MOOC for web skills? Can we identify sustainable business models?
  • - What are the factors that providers need to consider before engaging in such a project?
  • - How can providers enhance the quality of their MOOCs, and how can they maximise registration and retention?

Prior to this workshop, we would like to share the insights that were collected by means of a desk study and a survey carried out amongst over 3000 students, entrepreneurs, leaders of innovation support programs, developers, and MOOC providers. The survey aimed to identify the web skills which are most in demand and evaluate whether or not they are being covered by the current MOOC supply. The goal of this research component is to reveal insights that could help strengthen and enhance the use of MOOCs for web talent across Europe. You can access the full report here


The skills under scrutiny fall into three main categories: core web skills (programming, content production, web technologies and web design), extended web skills (graphic design, animation, and software engineering), and adjacent web skills (domain specific such as e-learning, games and gamification, online-entertainment, and digital art). The initial desk research provided a precise mapping of the MOOCs related to the web skills mentioned above that are currently available. Fifty-six European MOOCs and 115 US MOOCs related to web skills were identified.  The analysis showed that within Europe, the providers of the MOOCs in question are concentrated in certain countries.




Carlos Alario-Hoyos, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain

Carlos Delgado Kloos, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain

Davinia Hernández-Leo, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain

Inge (Ignatia) de Waard, The Open University, UK

Laia Canals, PAU Education, Spain

Mar Pérez-Sanagustín, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain

Mike Sharples, The Open University and FutureLearn, UK

Neil Morris, University of Leeds, UK

Paige Cuffe, The Open University, UK

Terry McAndrew, Higher Education Academy and JISC TechDis, UK

Sheila MacNeill, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK

Steven Warburton, University of Surrey, UK

Yishay Mor, PAU Education, Spain




On 28 March 2014 the network "Startup Europe" was launched with the support of the European Commission. Its aim is to identify the demand for web-related skills among European entrepreneurs and to promote the use of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for capacity building in those fields. The web industry is one of the engines of future economic growth all over the world. In Europe, however, hundreds of thousands of positions in the ICT sector remain vacant due to the lack of qualified staff. Online education via MOOCs can be a means to foster web and app skills.


The European Commission Directorate General for Communication Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT) calls upon web entrepreneurs, universities, MOOCs providers and online learners to join the network "Startup Europe network of MOOCs providers." It aims at creating an ecosystem of stakeholders interested in seizing the possibilities that MOOCs hold for building up web and app skills. Neelie Kroes, EU Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, stresses the importance of this initiative:


"By 2020, 90% of jobs will need digital skills. That is just around the corner, and we aren’t ready! Already businesses in Europe are facing a shortage of skilled ICT workers. We have to fill that gap, and this network we are launching will help us identify where the gaps are." 


Participants in the network benefit from the exchange of experiences and best practices, opportunities for networking, news updates, and the chance to participate in a conference to take place later this year. In addition, the network offers a discussion group on the European Commission’s Open Education Europa portal. The initiative is coordinated by P.A.U. Education in partnership with iversity.