While massive open online courses have seen some success in the developing world, the research needed to understand how these courses could be improved to adapt to both the capacity and culture of developing countries remains limited — a significant hurdle that prevents further use of MOOCs among students who need these programs most.
At last week’s SXSWedu conference in Austin, Texas, the U.S. Agency for International Development and CourseTalk, a site for student-written reviews of MOOCs, launched the $1.55 million Advancing MOOCs for Development Initiative, a two-year public-private partnership that will look into online course enrollment in Colombia, the Philippines and South Africa.
Research will be conducted by the Technology & Social Change Group, a network at the University of Washington’s Information School that examines the use of information and communications technologies in addressing social and economic challenges, with the help of IREX, a nonprofit implementing mostly education and media projects.
All with relatively young populations, the three countries were chosen for the potential they held for MOOCs adoption, according to Anne Laesecke, who is with IREX’s Center for Collaborative Technology and is also the AMDI coordinator.
“We sought representative examples of regional development in the next five to 10 years which had relatively more favorable conditions for MOOCs use,” Laesecke told Devex. “For example, South Africa, the Philippines and Colombia all report levels of higher development compared with their neighbors. We also looked at Internet penetration rates, higher education levels and opportunities, and prevalence of English language knowledge.”
[ Full article available at Devex Impact: https://www.devex.com/news/in-3-developing-countries-an-effort-to-deepen-research-on-moocs-85740 ]