Joining Forces Toward Social Inclusion

Language MOOC Design for Refugees and Migrants through the Lens of Maker Culture


  • Maria Dolores Castrillo Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia
  • Beatriz Sedano Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia



MOOCs, LMOOCs, Maker culture, social inclusion, designbased research, refugees and migrants


The expansion of MOOCs (massive open online courses) is very much associated with instructors interested in the craft of teaching, innovating, and experimenting with different methods to improve and expand students’ learning experience. The Erasmus+ project MOONLITE has worked to create cross-institutional scenarios and new educational pathways for migrants and refugees, devising, among other things, two Spanish language MOOCs (LMOOCs). They are the product of the joint efforts of university academics, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and refugee support groups (RSGs), together with volunteers, refugees, and migrants, who formed a community in order to design courses that effectively addressed the needs of refugees and migrants arriving in Spain. Using a design thinking process, all parties involved attempted to collaboratively identify strategies and solutions to a given problem that might not be obvious upon first inspection; in this case, the specific linguistic needs of migrants and refugees arriving in a new country. Results show that this continuum of academics— NGOs/RSGs—volunteers—refugees/migrants was highly effective for the learners, with an overall completion rate in both MOOCs of 96%. The participants’ perception is that these MOOCs helped them in their goal of integrating into life in Spain in key situations, such as communicating in a job interview or understanding the process of looking for accommodation and completing bureaucratic procedures.

Author Biographies

  • Maria Dolores Castrillo, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia

    María Dolores Castrillo holds a senior lecturer position at UNED, teaching and researching in the areas of German studies and CALL (Computer-Assisted Language Learning). Member of the ATLAS (Applying Technology to LAnguageS) group; her current research interests include MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), Open Educational Resources (OERs), Computer-Mediated Communication, Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL) and Social Networks for Language Learning. Her publications include papers in indexed journals and book chapters both at national and international level. She has won two prizes related to Open Learning: Best Open CourseWare (2008) and Best MOOC (2013), both awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Education, Universia (Banco Santander) and Telefónica. Also, her research practice has received official recognition; and her PhD thesis was awarded the Prize for Doctoral Excellence.

    She has participated in seven competitive European and national research projects and five projects based on art. 83 LOU, for the transfer of R&D to the productive sector, the last of which, as the main researcher, carried out under an agreement between the UNED and Telefónica Educación Digital.

    Since 2016 she has been coordinating the GLOBE Innovation Group (Group for Languages in Open and Blended Environments) that has obtained four financed innovation projects related to open teaching and learning, and datadriven language learning.

  • Beatriz Sedano, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia

    Beatriz Sedano has a PhD in Education and Treatment of Languages through the ICT doctoral program at UNED on LMOOCs (Language MOOCs). Since 2017, she has been working at UNED as contracted research staff associated with European Erasmus+ projects, such as MOONLITE (, ECCOE (, and NEXUS (https:// She is member of ATLAS (Applying Technology to LAnguageS) research group and the teaching innovation group GLOBE (Group for Languages in Open and Blended Environments), in which she has participated in several projects related to Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) and Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL). She has also participated in numerous national and international congresses and has published papers in indexed journals and book chapters both at national and international level. Her research focus is on language online learning, particularly on open education, instructional design, and LMOOCs.


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Special Issue 38.1: Innovation and Creation: The Maker Movement

How to Cite

Castrillo, M. D., & Sedano, B. (2021). Joining Forces Toward Social Inclusion: Language MOOC Design for Refugees and Migrants through the Lens of Maker Culture. CALICO Journal, 38(1), 79-102.