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Multilingual MOOCs expand reach of U.S. idea

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Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, are increasingly multilingual, and two of the largest providers of the free massive open online courses recently announced international initiatives — in Latin America and the Middle East — that could greatly expand the global reach of the sensation, Tech Page One reports.

Coursera has partnered with the Carlos Slim Foundation to deliver more courses in Spanish to Mexico and beyond, and edX is teaming up with a Jordanian group that will use its platform to host a MOOC portal for the Arabic-speaking world.

The announcement of the Arabic-language portal, slated to launch soon, follows the inclusion of two other global MOOC websites on the edX platform — XuetangX in China and France’s Université Numerique, edX officials said.

“It’s becoming much more internationalized and multilingual as well,” said Dan O’Connell, of edX.  Each of the portals uses Open edX, the open source platform supported by Stanford University and Google, among other global partners.

… MOOCs, which have only been widely used for a couple of years, hold out great promise in bringing higher education to masses of people at low cost. Questions remain, however, about their efficacy, completion rates and whether they can translate into credits toward a degree.

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