Open Education Global Conference 2016: Convergence Through Collaboration
“This was for the first time that I used the net independently”: Fostering Digital Literacies through MOOC Delivery Structures in a Developing Context
Rhiannon Moore and Tim Seal, Open University
With the majority of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) developed within and aimed at the global North, their place within the development agenda and the opportunities they offer within low- and middle-income countries has been the subject of much discussion. For the TESS-India project, working on teacher education in India at a time when Indian MOOCs are becoming increasingly common, launching a professional development MOOC aimed at Indian teacher educators provided an opportunity to assess the extent to which this access mechanism enables positive engagement.
The TESS-India MOOC, ‘Enhancing Teacher Education through OER’, aimed to support teacher educators (particularly within the Indian context) to access and use OER to ‘close the gap between policy and practice in classroom teaching and learning’. Based on recommendations from a platform usability study with a sample of the target audience, the pilot iteration of the TESS-India MOOC ran as an ‘open boundary’ course, meaning that, in addition to the online course environment, regular face-to-face sessions were offered to selected participants. This alternative approach allowed these participants a more supported means of engagement in the MOOC, helping overcome some potential challenges in participating and completing the course. It also generated some additional outcomes of particular interest, including increasing participants’ perceived digital literacy and generating considerable buy-in from Indian state governments and teacher education institutions for online methods of teacher education and training. This presentation will explore some of these, while also considering the extent to which the ‘open-boundary’ nature moved the participant experience away from that of an online course towards a more traditional face-to-face learning approach taught with online materials, and will therefore seek to understand the implications of taking this hybrid approach.