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If we look at the short but widely analyzed history of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), it is evident that these courses, which were created and are still often acclaimed as ‘open’, have been progressively losing most of their openness. A substantial – and probably increasing – number of MOOCs are in fact not based on Open Educational Resources. Moreover, they are not continuously available for access. Recognizing that many openness declinations exist in the MOOC panorama, this article seeks to expand global knowledge about such variances by focusing on the characteristics of MOOCs in Italy. It claims that even if the Italian MOOC ecosystem has some similarities with those of other European countries, it is distinctive for two reasons: first, MOOCs produced by Italian universities seem to be more open than those in comparable countries in terms of both content licenses and accessibility; second, the Italian MOOC ecosystem seems to suffer from a rather high degree of fragmentation. By combining a literature review with a set of interviews with key stakeholders in the Italian MOOC panorama, the article provides insights on the factors and mechanisms that have generated such a particular configuration of the Italian MOOC landscape.
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