Rethinking MOOCs: The Promises for Better Education in India

Rethinking MOOCs: The Promises for Better Education in India

David Nemer (University of Kentucky, USA) and Jacki O'Neill (Microsoft Research, Bangalore, India)
DOI: 10.4018/IJICTHD.2019010103
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Indian users are the second largest population enrolled in MOOCs; yet little is known about them. In this qualitative study of MOOC users in India, the authors aim to understand how and why they use MOOCs. The findings show how MOOCs fit into the Indian context, specifically how they compare to the interviewees' educational experiences and the trade-off between language and content. This article also examines a group of ex-users, that is, a group of previous users who have turned away from MOOCs despite having an educational need. Furthermore, it highlights how the findings contribute to the debate on MOOCs and the promise for better education. Proponents of MOOCs have claimed that they are an improving force for education because they provide free access for anyone with an internet connection to high-quality teachers and materials on a scale not possible before. The authors use the emergent themes from the data to challenge these claims.
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Research On Moocs

The most popular MOOCs follow the format of a traditional university course and feature lectures, assignments, start dates, and deadlines. One of the most striking characteristics of MOOC usership is a major drop out in course enrollment between initial registration and final certification, as more than 90% of participants eventually drop out (Xing et al., 2016). This statistic has been characterized as a funnel of participation (Joo et al., 2018), with students “leaking out” of a course over time (Cristea et al., 2018). High dropout rates have sparked debate about the efficacy of MOOCs as well as conversation about how to retain users over time. However, simply comparing MOOCs with traditional education or e-learning does not seem sensible either (Joksimović et al., 2018). The low signup costs and openness of MOOCs—features at their very core—mean people can more readily register as well as dropout.

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