MOOC (Massive Online Open Courses), SPOC (Small Private Open Courses), FOAD (Formation Ouvertes A Distance - remote open training), digital resources etc. There are many ways for you to take an online and correspondence training programme and train from home.
Note the difference between:
- A MOOC: Massive Online Open Course, free, offered on a platform for a limited-time session. You may have to pay to obtain certification. An MOOC does not confer a diploma; it provides you with complementary training on a specific subject.
- A SPOC: Small Private Open Course: an MOOC that is reserved for about thirty previously-selected participants. An SPOC is like a virtual class; you must pay to join.
- A FOAD: Remote Open Training, offered by an educational institute, open to everyone, with a flexible timetable and teaching organisation. Not just on-site courses. An FOAD may confer a diploma. If it is a diploma programme, you will be given a student card and must pay registration fees.
- An access to free online digital resources (videos, exercises, classes, quiz, guides and others) to complete and improve your knowledge without the need for a registration, with no degree issued.
Here are a few suggested platforms and sites where you can find online training, distance trainings or access to digital resources offered by French institutions and/or in French.
"FUN", the French MOOC platform
France has the MOOC (Massive Online Open Courses) platform: this is called FUN for "France Université Numérique" (France Digital University) and offers over 300 free online courses open to everyone. Some of the courses are provided in English, too! It involves the participation of over 80 French educational institutes.
Nearly 50 subjects are offered. Classes begin throughout the year; the beginning of the academic year is not necessarily in September.
Available correspondence courses in France
The Fédération Interuniversitaire de l’Enseignement à Distance (Interuniversity Federation of Correspondence Learning) is an association recognised by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation. Its goal is to establish a network of universities that have developed online and correspondence programmes. You can find the programme that you're interested in by searching by field, subject or degree.
For example, the CNAM (Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers - National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts) offers nearly 500 correspondence courses through its PLEI@D platform. The CIEP (Centre International d’Etudes Pédagogiques - the National Centre of Pedagogical Studies), the CNED (Centre Nationale d'Enseignement à Distance - the National Centre for Correspondence Education), Greta (Groupements d’Etablissements pour la formation des adultes - Group of Establishments for Adult Education) network (with the e-Greta platform) also provide correspondence programmes.
Correspondence programmes are also listed on the directory of correspondence trainings by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation on its website www.sup-numérique.gouv.fr.
“Universités Numériques Thématiques” (Thematic Digital Universities)
The “Universités Numériques Thématiques” (Thematic Digital Universities – UNT) were created in 2005 by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research. They are organised in 8 fields: basic science with the UNISCIEL, legal and political science with the UNJF, health and sports with UNESS, environment and sustainable development with UVED, economics and management with AUNEGE, human sciences and arts with UOH, engineering science and technology with UNIT, University Institutes of Technology with online IUTs.
The UNTs don’t issue degrees, but offer over 34 000 digital education resources of various types: videos, excercises, full classes with lessons and quiz, MOOCs and more. The resources are available online for all and free of charge.
UNTs are grouped in a common portal: the Digital University. They also provide resources to a common video library: Canal U, the digital video library for higher education and research where conferences, seminars, documentaries and education video clips are accessible online and free of charge.
All resources offered by the UNTs are accessible from the directory of resources in auto-training by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation.
Trainings given in French
The Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF - Francophone University Agency) has encouraged the development of online (MOOC) and correspondence (FOAD) education by institutes of higher education in Francophone countries. Its network offers more than 100 degrees (from the Bachelor's to Master 2) and a wide range of online courses open to all. You can find out more on the AUF site dedicated to FOAD and MOOC.
In collaboration with the University of Valencienne (Frnace) and La Teluq (Quebec), the AUF created a meta portal called IDNEUF - Initiative pour le Développement Numérique de l’Espace Universitaire Francophone (Initiative for Digital Development of the French-Speaking Higher Education Area). It offers about 50,000 education resources of various types (lessons, tutorials, exercises, guides) shared free of charge by members of the French-speaking university community. IDNEUF is designed for various audiences (students, professors, teachers-researchers, engineers, technicians) sharing a common interest for the use of digital technology in education.
Remember to check the MOOC Francophone search engine - it lists all of the online courses provided in French. They are classed by type (free or paid), field, platform and institute.
Online French classes
- TV5 Monde, the Francophone television station, has an MOOC for learning French for all levels. You can expand your vocabulary and understanding of grammar as well as your knowledge of Francophone culture; there are interactive and multilingual exercises.
- RFI Savoirs, the Francophone radio station, has exercises, informative dossiers and shows to help you learn and teach French.
- The Association Française pour la Formation des Adultes (French Association for Adult Learning) offers MOOC, in particular on FLE (French as a Foreign Language) to teach beginners the basics.
- There are many Alliances Françaises that offer online French classes. Check the Alliance site near you to find out more.
Preparing yourself for studies in France
With the FILIPE e-learning programme, you can prepare for your upcoming programme in science and technology in France to make things easier when you arrive. This is linguistic, intercultural and scientific preparation for non-Francophone students who will be doing graduate studies in France.
Improve your understanding of France and French values
The association France Terre d’asile has developed a permanently-available MOOC to improve understanding of France and its values: Ensemble en France (Together in France) with drawing on both history and daily life. The platform and programme are in both French and English. Over 50 videos are subtitled in French, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Mandarin, Pashto, Farsi and Tamil. The platform also offers a section dedicated to the learning of French (as FLE).
"Ensemble en France" is an excellent way to prepare for your studies in France. It is aimed at people who want to move to France, as well as the curious.