Partners from 11 countries have signed up to OpenupEd, which currently provides access to around 40 free courses in 12 different languages.
Supported by the European Commission, the site contains a database of courses ranging from mathematics to fiction writing, with each partner institution offering its courses via its own website.
Androulla Vassiliou, European commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism and youth, said he hoped the project would “open up education to tens of thousands of students” and encourage European universities to adopt “more innovative and flexible” teaching methods.
“The Moocs movement has already proved popular, especially in the US, but this pan-European launch takes the scheme to a new level. It reflects European values such as equity, quality and diversity and the partners involved are a guarantee for high-quality learning,” She added.
The OpenupEd site has university partners in France, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, UK, Russia, Turkey and Israel. Courses are available in all of the countries’ native languages, and Arabic, and range from 20 to 200 hours of study.
All courses may lead to recognition such as a completion certificate or a credit certificate that may count towards a degree. In the latter case, students have to pay for the certificate, with the cost ranging from €25 to €400 (£20 to £340), depending on the hours of study involved and the institution.