MOOCA – Massive Open Online Course for Accessibility

John Gilligan, Weiqin Chen, Sebastian Kelle, and Jenny Darzentas

 Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway, Stuttgart Media University and University of the Aegean, Greece


This paper describes the MOOCA project which is developing a set of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) to train ICT professionals in the principles of Accessibility and Universal Design.  The content of these MOOCs  will be based on Universal Design and Accessible ICT courses currently on offer in partner institutions as well as internationally agreed content such as that specified in the 2011 CEN Community Workshop Agreement on 'Curriculum for training professionals in Universal Design’. The MOOCA project is funded under the Key Action 2(KA2): Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices strand of EU Erasmus plus initiative. The purpose of KA2 is to support Transnational Strategic Partnerships.

The coordinating agency is the Stuttgart Media University. The remaining participating Universities are:

  • Technical University of Dresden, Germany
  • Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria
  • Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland
  • Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway
  • Université Paris 8, France
  • University of Southampton, UK
  • University of the Aegean, Greece

The MOOCA Partnership consists of two phases (each 18 months): Phase 1: Planning, implementation and evaluation of an introductory massive open online course on basics in accessible design in ICT, and Phase 2: Planning, implementation and evaluation of a set of online courses with more in-depth and focused learning topics. The specialized courses will serve as logical follow-up for the participants of the introductory course who want to gain expertise in one of the specialized areas.

Phase 1 is the particular focus of this paper. The introductory MOOC will be hosted on the FutureLearn Platform. The course will be jointly designed and evaluated by all partner universities.  The choice of Platform, how learners engage with MOOCS and the consequent pedagogic challenges for learning activities will be a central theme of this work.  Another key topic will be the development and deployment of MOOC materials and the accessibility, ethical and legal requirements involved in this process.

Finally this paper will conclude with some thoughts on how MOOCS might be used to promote Universal Design for ICT and other professionals and the possible trials and opportunities that might bring.