1 Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (SPAIN)
2 Universidad de Atacama (CHILE)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2017 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 9059-9068
ISBN: 978-84-617-8491-2
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2017.2147
Conference name: 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2017
Location: Valencia, Spain
MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) students now come from all over the world. However, most MOOC providers are based exclusively in developed countries. Analysing experiences in developing countries that have different contexts and real-world technology than developed countries, MOOCs can be exploited to improve educational quality and reduce the dropout rate. Accordingly, more students can be trained for longer than in traditional face-to-face classrooms.

Our research has several goals:
(i) conduct a study in developing countries to analyse their cultural, socioeconomic and technological dimensions,
(ii) study the variables accounted for by the technology acceptance model (TAM) in order to ascertain MOOC acceptance by users in developing countries,
(iii) design MOOC and user models according to requirements of user profiles in developing countries, and
(iv) design experiments to validate the proposal of our MOOC model.

We use user modelling based on expert knowledge in order to propose a MOOC user model for developing countries. As we have lengthy experience in user modelling, we played the role of experts. We used archetypal user modelling: people aged between 18 and 60 years. Accordingly, the proposed MOOC model highlights certain features underlying the user model, such as more interaction with tutors. This is an important feature because tutor support is poor in the xMOOC model. Additionally, we consider the use of online open educational resources (OER) on top of instructional resources designed especially for the course. However, only the group of participants that followed the proposed MOOC model had access to both OER and the instructional and syllabus modules, whereas the group following xMOOC had access to only the instructional and syllabus modules.

In the experiments conducted to validate our proposal, we worked with two user groups based in developing countries: Group 1 (G1) and Group 2 (G2). G1 uses the xMOOC model, and G2 uses the MOOC proposed in this research. The topic addressed by the MOOCs was: Why are algorithms important? The MOOCs were taught on the LORE platform. The experiments were conducted with participants from developing countries like Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru. Initially, we gathered data from the two target user groups in order to instantiate the user model.

The results of the experiments show that our MOOC model is better accepted by participants. Analysing the socioeconomic dimension, we find that most participants are middle class. Also, there is quite a high percentage of unemployed people, a potential MOOC target group. With regard to the cultural dimension, there is a conviction that developing nations have deeply rooted traditions. Variables such as the balance of power, violence and flexible legislation could affect the conditions determining the participation of the population in MOOCs.
MOOC, Developing Countries, MOOC Model, User Model, Technology Acceptance Model, TAM.