U.S. Embassies launch MOOC Camps to engage young people and promote interest in American education


The U.S. Department of State has launched a new initiative called MOOC Camps to host facilitated discussions around massive open online courses (MOOCs) at U.S. Embassies, Consulates, American Spaces, and other public areas in more than 40 countries around the world. Participation in the program is free and open to the public.

These discussions are led by alumni who have participated in U.S. government exchange programs, such as the Fulbright program, and U.S. Embassy staff, who are familiar with the course materials.

Subjects range from entrepreneurship and college writing to science and technology.

Course content is drawn from major MOOC providers, including edX and Coursera, as well as from multiple CourseWare providers.

This is a sample of a course, provided by Berkeley: Writing 2.1x: Principles of Written English

Participants in the program will also be able to learn more about opportunities to study in the United States through EducationUSA, a network of hundreds of student advising centers around the world that the State Department supports.

In the last weeks France’s Ministry of Higher Education announced an edX open-source based platform to power their new nationwide MOOC and blended learning portal, France Universite Numerique. Also, a group of leading Chinese universities unveiled the creation –built through the Open edX software– of a new MOOC portal called XuetangX, which is split into two parts: the massive open online public course and a blended learning portal for on-campus students.


Another announcement came this month. The Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development unveiled the creation of the MOOC portal Edraak, becoming “the first massive open online course portal for the Arab world.” Edraak will offer, at no cost, Arabic translations of select courses from edX partners. The portal will also develop its own courses in Arabic with help from leading Arab faculty and professionals.