(AGI) Cape Town, Mar 27 - The latest Italian approach to onlineteaching was outlined to a conference in South Africa bywell-known essayist Mauro Calise, Professor of PoliticalScience at the University of Naples Federico II, past Presidentof the SISP, the Italian Political Science Society, andDirector IPSAportal, the online magazine of the InternationalPolitical Science Association. He did so at a conferenceentitled "The New Frontiers of Higher Education in the DigitalEnvironment: The Massive Open Online Courses Revolution"organised at the Centre for the Book in Cape Town Book by theItalian embassy as part of the" Inspiring Thinkers Series",supported by the European Union. The meeting was moderated byProfessor Raenette Taljaard of the Department of PoliticalScience of the University of Cape Town, a former member of theSouth African Parliament and the Independent ElectoralCommission. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), a new formatfor university online courses at a distance, has spreadincredibly in recent years with the creation of virtualclassrooms through Web 2.0. The major MOOCs platform providershave over 20 million members in the U.S. alone. The FedericaWeb Learning platform of Federico II, developed withco-financing from the European Structural Funds, alreadypresents more than 300 courses and 5000 lessons online. Fortyuniversity courses in MOOC format will be launched on the newwww.federica.eu channel on Apr. 21. Ambassador VincenzoSchioppa, also in response to strong interest among SouthAfricans, stressed the potential of MOOCs and the Federicaplatform in particular as a powerful tool for Italian culturaldiplomacy around the world. (AGI). .