Covering Cohesion Policy in Europe (COPE)

EU-Project “Covering Cohesion Policy in Europe – Training MOOC for European Journalism Students” (COPE)

From 01/2023 to 06/2024, the COPE consortium, led by Prof Susanne Fengler, has developed a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for 27 EU countries to familiarise journalism students across Europe with reporting on EU topics and EU cohesion policy. The title of the EU project under the leadership of TU Dortmund University is: "Covering Cohesion Policy in Europe - Training MOOC for European Journalism Students" (COPE). COPE as a MOOC is aimed at journalism educators and universities of journalism throughout Europe, but also at editorial offices and individual journalists looking for further training opportunities.

The MOOC, which was mainly created by journalism institutes from 27 EU member states, aims to help journalism students understand policymaking in Europe and use relevant data and sources accordingly. For this reason, the MOOC COPE is also available in all EU languages in the 14 thematic modules. There is a special focus on selected modules that have so-called "local windows", which offer additional country-specific content on the EU. The COPE consortium has a common goal: to promote even more cross-border cooperation and professional reporting on European issues among a future generation of European journalists.

The COPE MOOC is co-financed by the European Union with a budget of 1 million euros. This is co-financed by the European Union to enable the production of the content of all 14 modules, the translation and the technical development of 27 national MOOCs.

The COPE project was designed under the leadership of Susanne Fengler, TU Dortmund University, and implemented as a multilingual MOOC version in just 18 months. The COPE consortium consists of six journalism institutes and two NGOs: AP (Belgium), TU Dortmund University (Germany), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), University of Wrocław (Poland), University of Porto (Portugal) and Babeș-Bolyai University (Romania), ARENA for Journalism in Europe and the European Journalism Training Association (EJTA). EJTA also provided the COPE project with the European Competence Profile for Journalism (Tartu Declaration), a standardised model of learning outcomes recognised by all EJTA partner schools.

More than 21 further recognised, renowned and experienced regional university partners from all EU member states provided the MOOC with specific content, a so-called local window, focusing on reporting on EU cohesion policy from the perspective of their countries, in addition to translation into the various 24 official EU languages. A specific focus was set furthermore on the partnership with the renowned journalists’ initiative Arena for Journalism in Europe (ARENA), which in the MOOC COPE firmly anchors the project’s outcomes in European newsroom practices and actual media industry needs. 

COPE has a pilot-test-teaching phase at 27 different universities in all EU languages from January to June 2024, and an evaluation of the MOOC was conducted in spring 2024 with more than 1000 students participating. 

The COPE MOOC is a comprehensive set of 14 modules and will enable future journalism educators across the EU to systematically provide journalism students with a better understanding of the functioning of the EU institutions and the complex factual dimensions of cohesion policy in the EU. 

Journalism students, as active users of COPE, will learn how to practically translate this knowledge into informed and sensitive, yet critical and fact-based multimedia reporting using appropriate techniques for a local audience. 

Journalism educators are supported in the COPE MOOC by a specially developed handbook that guides MOOC users and by interactive components such as experienced academics (from the fields of political science, especially public policy and European studies, experienced EU correspondents as well as journalism experts and investigative journalists) dealing with cohesion policy and EU politics in general, who support the creation of the course modules as well as the implementation of the curriculum. Therefore, an interdisciplinary approach is key to this project.

The online course is available at the following link: