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Introducing MOOCs to Africa: New economy skills for Africa program – ICT
Boga, Sandi and McGreal, Rory

PublishedJanuary 2014
PeriodicalPages 1-10
PublisherCommonwealth of Learning
CountryTanzania, Canada, Africa

From the Conclusion:

In summary, MOOCs as a type of globally-networked learning environment (GNLE) could become a very useful delivery model in the developing world – but not necessarily when tied to a specific platform like Coursera. If developing countries allow themselves to be locked in to a certain MOOC platform, they may have to adhere to the foreign values put forth by the platform owners. As a result, developing nations may lose some of their autonomy and exclude potential local partners who may not be a part of the same platform (Siemens, 2013). This exclusivity will make developing countries vulnerable to the effects of cultural imperialism, and prevent true collaboration with other developing countries that may be facing similar issues.

A danger of for-profit companies like Coursera delivering MOOCs to the developing world is that they are revenue-focused. This compels them to be open to the possibility of accepting corporate partnerships that may not have the best interests of the learners in mind. Another issue is that commercial MOOC platforms copyright-protect their materials, which means that developing countries will lose the ability to adapt, localize or translate content to their own context. Coursera’s less flexible approach may also limit MOOC instructors in their ability to use publicly-available, high-quality OERs in their MOOCs. This will negatively impact instructors’ and learners’ long-term ability to take control of their own learning.

A more appealing option would be to use an open-source MOOC platform in combination with OERs, so that local instructors have the flexibility to adapt curricula to meet the unique needs of their learners. Further to this, it seems unwise to import North American MOOC course formats wholesale, since many of the technological competencies required to complete such a course simply do not exist in developing countries, creating barriers to access for many students. Instead, to take full advantage of the MOOC format, implementers should plan to use existing technologies such as radio and mobile phones. Instruction designed for mobile phones has a similar pedagogical underpinning to the instructional design of MOOCs, meaning that students can receive high-quality instruction on devices they are familiar with, while taking part in learning activities that are similar to those offered in North American MOOCs.

Keywords ICT · Coursera · digital technology · GNLEs · mobile technology · MOOC

Published atVancouver
RefereedDoes not apply
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