On 11-13 June 2018, the Asia-Pacific Regional Seminar on MOOCs for Higher Education: Seizing digital opportunities to achieve SDG4 was held in Shenzhen, People’s Republic of China. The regional seminar was co-organized by the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education (UNESCO Bangkok), the National Commission of the People’s Republic of China for UNESCO, the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) and the International Centre for Higher Education Innovation under the auspices of UNESCO (ICHEI) in order to support the implementation of the Qingdao Declaration and the Education 2030 agenda.
The event brought together over 100 policymakers, UNESCO representatives, and education experts from 20 countries in the Asia-Pacific region interested to share their practices and experiences in developing MOOCs and the use of ICT in promoting equality and improving quality in higher education. The main goal of the regional seminar was to develop a research framework for mapping innovative policies and practices in order to ensure equal access to quality higher education. In particular, the event was aimed to:
- highlight state-of-the-art technologies from the public and private sectors to enhance the quality of teaching and learning in higher education;
- identify strategies to strengthen institutional governance and partnerships for technology-enriched learning to reach the most vulnerable in Asia-Pacific;
- convene experts from national platforms to exchange experiences and assess readiness for a regional network on MOOCs in Asia-Pacific;
- develop a research framework for a new flagship publication to analyze gaps and opportunities for MOOC policies and practices to achieve SDG4.
The agenda of the regional seminar was focused on five key stakeholder groups and included discussions on the national strategies for MOOCs, the national MOOC platform resources, institutional partnerships, programs and services around MOOCs, youth and adult learners, as well as the multi-sectoral engagement.
UNESCO IITE was represented at the regional seminar by Svetlana Knyazeva, Chief of the Unit for Digital Pedagogy and Learning Materials at UNESCO IITE who chaired the session “Enablers and barriers that influence institutional partnerships, programmes and services around MOOCs”. During this session, participants shared strategies and practical experiences for strengthening institutional governance and driving institutional change to support next generation learners.