Supporting Professional Development Through MOOCs: the TESSA Experience

Stutchbury, Kris; Chamberlain, Liz and Amos, Sandra (2019). Supporting Professional Development Through MOOCs: the TESSA Experience. In: Pan-Commonwealth Forum 9 (PCF9), 2019. Conference Proceedings, Commonwealth of Learning, Vancouver, Canada.



Policy aspirations for education across sub - Saharan Africa are requiring teachers to change from being transmitters of knowledge to facilitators of learning. This means that teacher education needs to change as well. At present, teacher preparation courses are highly theoretical, and many teacher educators have very limited sch ool teaching experience. Teacher Education in sub - Saharan Africa (TESSA), open educational resources (OER) can support teacher educators in developing the practical knowledge needed, yet many see them as resources for teachers rather than themselves. Also, curricula and examination systems may restrict the incorporation of OER into teacher preparation programmes. The TESSA MOOC - Making teacher education relevant for 21 st Century Africa - was designed to support teacher educators in changing their practice and better support teachers in the new curricula being developed. It focused on active teaching approaches, incorporating ICT into classroom learning, and using TESSA materials and other OER. It ran three times, over two years, and nearly 7000 participants , mainly from sub - Saharan Africa (SSA), registered. For many people it was their first experience of online learning. They studied on phones, in environments where electricity and connectivity were erratic, and supported each other in local communities. De spite the challenges, the completion rates for the first two presentations were encouragingly high compared with the norm for MOOCs. This paper analyses data from the pre - and post - course surveys from the first two presentations to understand who took pa rt, how they studied, what they learnt and how it has impacted on their practice.

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