In 2015, the eLearning lab and the UNESCO Chair in ICT to develop and promote sustainbale tourism at World Heritage Sites of Università della Svizzera italiana – USI, Lugano (Switzerland), launched the first MOOC in eTourism, a most needed topic, considering the role played by Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) within tourism and hospitality. The course, fully free and open, is titled “eTourism: Communication Perspectives” and was a great success in both its editions. In the 1st edition it attracted 5’500+ learners from 142 countries, with 31% of active learners; in the second edition there were more than 3’000 learners.

The course is now fully free and open on the new MOOC platform OpenedX at the site www.etourismmooc.ch.

This MOOC is addressed to anyone, who is passionate in traveling and wishes to understand the great opportunities given by ICTs to the sector. It might be beneficial in particular to: students within tourism and hospitality programs, academia and researchers, destination managers, people active in the tourism industry, policy makers. No prerequisite knowledge is necessary.

The course is developed in 8 chapters, which combine theoretical insights and case studies, and include topics such as: theories of online communication, quality of online contents, User Generated Content (UGC), Web 2.0, Reputation in online Media, Intercultural communication and localization, eLearning, argumentation, sustainable tourism at World Heritage Sites. Each chapter provides videos, transcripts, quizzes and additional reading materials. For the videos, subtitles and transcripts are available in English, Chinese, Italian, Spanish.

It needs to be considered that all materials were developed in 2015 and, since life goes on and things change very fast, there might be some shortcomings and information in need of updates, which learners will easily be able to overcome. Also, unfortunately, direct support by instructors and course assistants can no longer be provided. Even though, the discussion functionality given by the platform can be fruitfully used to communicate with peers attending the MOOC.

You can look at the teaser of the first edition here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVo7unrQFRE

and to the teaser of the second edition here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVg6U6tJVu0

Previous learners built a lively community, which can be joined on the MOOC’s Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/472859206207898/

The MOOC served as case study for scientific publications, among which:

– Lin J., Cantoni L. (2017) Decision, Implementation, and Confirmation: Experiences of Instructors behind Tourism and Hospitality MOOCs, The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning.

– Lin J., Cantoni L. (2017) Assessing the Performance of a Tourism MOOC Using the Kirkpatrick Model: A Supplier’s Point of View. Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2017. Springer, Cham.. ENTER 2017. 24-26 January, 2017.

Learn and enjoy!