Education matters to everyone around the world. Earlier this year, Secretary Kerry said, “No matter where they’re from, the young people that I meet with share the same basic aspirations. They want an education. They want opportunity.” Here at the State Department, we have a strong interest in finding new ways to offer expansive learning opportunities so that everyone has the skills and knowledge that they need to succeed.
That is why yesterday, we announced our new MOOC Camp initiative and also our partnership with Coursera. They have been working with us behind the scenes to develop the initiative, and we look forward to working together to identify what produces the best learning outcomes.
Over the last few months, our U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world began hosting weekly facilitated discussions for students enrolled in free Massive Online Open Courses (or MOOCs) from Coursera, edX, and a number of Open CourseWare platforms. Alumni of the Fulbright program and other exchange programs, as well as U.S. Embassy staff, have been hosting and facilitating the discussions. The pilot is up and running in over 40 countries, including South Korea, China, India, Tunisia, Georgia, Bolivia, and Finland, with topics ranging from English language to entrepreneurship, STEM, and American history.
Students participating in this program will also learn about opportunities to study in the United States through EducationUSA, our global network of student advising centers. We hope that by participating in MOOC Camps, participants are at the beginning of an educational journey -- not the end. In addition to offering new skills, MOOCs offer students an unparalleled opportunity to “test drive” a U.S. classroom and prepare for studying in the United States.
Support for educational opportunities empowers people around the world -- and it also helps the United States. Education matters because it builds and sustains a more democratic, secure, and prosperous world. That’s a goal we can all get behind.
About the Author: Evan M. Ryan serves as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.