Extending the MOOC footprint: supporting capacity building in India

Wolfenden, Freda; Henry, Fiona and Cross, Simon (2017). Extending the MOOC footprint: supporting capacity building in India. In: Pan-Commonwealth Forum 8, 2016 Conference proceedings, Commonwealth of Learning and Open University of Malaysia, Vancouver, Canada.

URL: http://oasis.col.org/handle/11599/2682


Higher education institutions across the world have enthusiastically embraced the MOOC phenomena for multiple motives; to advance the reach of their social justice missions; to promote their accredited provision; to experiment with new modes and styles of teaching, and so on.
Our ambition in using a MOOC was very different; we drew on the affordances of an established MOOC platform, Open EdX, to extend the reach and impact of a large scale open programme (TESS-India) focussed on improvements in teaching and learning in seven states in India (www.tess-india.edu.in). TESS-India aims for pedagogic transformation for teachers working in elementary and lower secondary schools through participation in the practices of the TESS-India OER. Within the design of TESS-India the MOOC was intended to play a critical role in supporting the capacity building of teacher educators to close the policy –practice gap and support engagement of teachers with the OER.
This paper describes how we addressed the broader programme demands in the design and delivery of the TESS-India MOOC to attract over 10,000 registered participants and a completion rate of 51%. We draw on multiple sources of participant data to identify and examine features which stimulated a buzz around the MOOC and supported success in challenging contexts - many participants had little or no prior experience of online learning and a large number were based in rural areas without reliable internet access or power. Our analysis identifies features which contributed to successful participation; a focus on authentic activities in the learning design and assessment, appropriate use of technology, a three-way blended support model combining formal and informal interactions and the use of a pilot iteration of the MOOC to create local experts and champions who were then able to act as skilled facilitators in the large scale iteration of the MOOC.

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