About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 7980-7990
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-617-8491-2
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2017.1882

Conference name: 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2017
Location: Valencia, Spain

THE ROLE OF AFRICAN MASSIVE OPEN ONLINE COURSES (MOOCS) IN SUPPORTING THE MOST MARGINALIZED

T. Adam

University of Cambridge (UNITED KINGDOM)
With increasing connectivity throughout the developing world, there is great optimism for the bridging of inequality in the world. However, Digital Divide theory suggests that technology in fact exacerbates inequality. This study reviews the roles that African Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) play in helping the most marginalized to improve their capabilities.

Through evaluating MOOCs created by Western universities, I argue that Western MOOCs are not adapted to non-Western contexts, and are thus unsuccessful in supporting African education. Little research exists on MOOCs for developing countries. Reflecting on colonial history, I draw parallels between the colonisation of education and “digital neo-colonialism” through Western MOOCs. By this analogy, I extend discourse on decolonisation of education, currently circulating in formal tertiary institutes, to informal online education platforms.

Using the transformative paradigm for social justice as my epistemology, and Theory of Change for informing the process of an outcomes-based approach, I analyse the appropriateness of MOOCs to SSA contexts in terms of technology, pedagogy, and content. Specifically, I aim to analyse whether these MOOCs assist the most marginalized, particularly girls and those living in rural areas.

The six African MOOCs analysed were categorised based on whether they were:
1) part of a degree or a single module;
2) a primary source of education or supplementary to other studies;
3) “inward” serving university students or “outward” open to anyone in the public; and
4) partnered to meet industry needs, partnered with existing educational institutes, or independent.

Taking into account the various issues relevant to the African context, the MOOCs were evaluated on the following criteria:
1) purpose of the MOOC;
2) MOOC pedagogy;
3) resources and infrastructure required;
4) types of students supported;
5) accreditation acquired;
6) localisation and sources of knowledge;
7) financial sustainability;
8) relevant to employment; and
9) openness.

In reviewing these few MOOCs that are created by Africans, for African contexts, I hypothesise the framework for a decolonised African MOOC through my “Blended-learning Community MOOC model”. This context includes factors ranging from resource and infrastructure constraints, to youth aspirations and barriers to employment. Nothing that much educational discourse has revolved around universal primary education, neglecting secondary and tertiary sectors, I situate MOOCs as a solution to the difficulties of transitioning from secondary to tertiary education, and from education to employment.

My mixed research methods include online participatory research, semi-structured interviews with MOOC designers and industry, surveys to past and potential students, and database analysis of the demographics of MOOC participants. Still to be determined is whether I will conduct a randomised control trial or create my own MOOC, in order to test the “Blended-learning Community MOOC Model”.
@InProceedings{ADAM2017ROL,
author = {Adam, T.},
title = {THE ROLE OF AFRICAN MASSIVE OPEN ONLINE COURSES (MOOCS) IN SUPPORTING THE MOST MARGINALIZED},
series = {11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2017 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-8491-2},
issn = {2340-1079},
doi = {10.21125/inted.2017.1882},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/inted.2017.1882},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {6-8 March, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {7980-7990}}
TY - CONF
AU - T. Adam
TI - THE ROLE OF AFRICAN MASSIVE OPEN ONLINE COURSES (MOOCS) IN SUPPORTING THE MOST MARGINALIZED
SN - 978-84-617-8491-2/2340-1079
DO - 10.21125/inted.2017.1882
PY - 2017
Y1 - 6-8 March, 2017
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2017 Proceedings
SP - 7980
EP - 7990
ER -
T. Adam (2017) THE ROLE OF AFRICAN MASSIVE OPEN ONLINE COURSES (MOOCS) IN SUPPORTING THE MOST MARGINALIZED, INTED2017 Proceedings, pp. 7980-7990.
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