MOOCs: the importance of online learning


Institutional Communication Service

8 February 2022

Information and communication technologies have made it possible for universities to offer new services, such as free and open training courses for the general public. These are the so-called MOOCs - Massive Open Online Courses. Designed for a large audience, they are free of charge and do not require any academic prerequisites. In this context, we propose an excerpt of the in-depth study by Lorenzo Cantoni, Professor and Pro-Rector for education and students' experience at USI, which was published in the third issue of "Positivo! Appunti per domani", BancaStato's corporate magazine.

These courses, launched at the end of the first decade of our century, have become so important that the New York Times called 2012 the year of MOOCs. While university educational programmes are typically reserved to those with a degree and matriculation and define curricula and study regulations, through MOOCs, universities can offer some of their knowledge to anyone interested, without constraints or limitations. It is an interesting and innovative offer for those who want to keep up to date by accessing high-level expertise in a very flexible and accessible way. 

Many Swiss universities have embarked on this journey. Also in Ticino, there are MOOC offerings organised by USI. In particular, on the "philosophy" of Mario Botta (Mario Botta: To Be an Architect), on Dante Alighieri, and on tourism and digital technologies. The latter was particularly useful during the pandemic. Moreover, it has been recommended by the World Tourism Organisation and numerous other actors: it offered an extraordinary learning opportunity to those who were temporarily unable to work.

MOOCs want to give professionals the opportunity to consolidate the knowledge needed for their jobs, focusing on continuing education and supporting student-workers with online training activities to complement those in attendance, expanding the range internationally.


The full version of the article in Italian is available in the attachment (page.24).