The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) which is an intergovernmental organisation created by Commonwealth Heads of Government to encourage the development and sharing of open learning/distance education knowledge, resources and technologies in association with Wawasan Open University, Malaysia is launching the two MOOCs.
MOOC on ‘OER-based e-Learning’ offered by WOU supported by CEMCA (COL): Open Educational Resources (OERs) have appeared as one of the most ground-breaking learning and teaching tools and an economical mechanism. MOOC on ‘OER-based e-Learning’ offered by WOU is developed by faculty members of WOU and several other institutions in Asia. Read More
MOOC on ‘Action Research’ offered by WOU supported by COL: This Action Research MOOC is created by WOU, with a grant given by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Canada. The intention is infinite online involvement and open access through the web. Read More
Commonwealth of learning (COL) also teamed up with the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK) to deliver another Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on horticulture.
MOOC Horticulture on Mobile:
- The MOOC focused on “malis” who are semi-skilled gardeners that work with flowers, fruits and vegetables.
- The MOOC taught basic practices relating to 22 crops that are commonly cultivated in the central and eastern parts of the Gangetic Plain.
- Participants listened to a series of 35-60 second audio clips accessible via a local number and took weekly tests.
- The MOOC was delivered in Hindi and utilized a technology that allowed participants to engage using basic cell phones, making the MOOC accessible to many.
- This MOOC marked the first time that a MOOC (an Internet technology) has been blended successfully with a non-Internet technology (basic cell phones-audio only) in learning for this type of audience on such a large scale.
- The MOOC attracted 1500 participants at the outset.
- COL and IITK will jointly issue certificates to 296 participants who have fulfilled the requirements of the MOOC.
- Eleven of the participants have been identified as high performers of which four are subsistence farmers.
- MOOC’s such as this one are expected to increase the skills and productivity of the participants leading to greater development in their respective areas.
It is delivered using only audio messages. It is meant for those that interested in practical horticulture especially those working on small plots/farms. This course is offered in Hindi.
Learners can sign up by calling a number and leaving a missed call. The course platform will return the call. The aspiring learner speaks her/his name into the cell phone and uses the interactive voice response system to complete the registration.
Learning material is delivered as audio messages, generally of 30-60 seconds duration. The course platform calls the learner. If unavailable, the learner notices the missed call and can call the number to listen to the audio message.
This course is offered over a duration of four weeks, and covers material related to 22 crops organised in four categories (vegetables, fruits, flowers and spices). Material on each crop is provided as audio clips. Per crop, the learning modules (audio) aggregate to about 500 seconds.
There is quiz at the end of every week. Learner receives a missed call from an identified number and can call when convenient. After listening to a standard welcome message (to confirm that the learner is indeed connected to the learning platform), the learner can use choose the option and listen to the quiz. (Answers are true/false type). Responses are recorded and stored with the learners’ profile.
Learner can be a subscriber to any cell phone service of her/his choice. This course is independent of service providers. Technology for this course has been developed at IITK, partly based on its own vKVK platform (please see Chapter 15 in the COL publication on Mobile Learning.
Content is derived from two official publications: Krishi Gyan Manjusha (a handbook on packages of practices (in Hindi), Directorate of Agriculture, State of Uttar Pradesh, India; Handbook of Horticulture, Directorate of Knowledge Management, Indian Council of Agricultural Research). Professor J R Yadav (formerly of the School of Horticulture, C S Azad University of Agriculture and Technology at Kanpur, India) and Dr. Sharwan Shukla of IITK-agropedia group act as content creators and course mentors.
As of 1 December 2014, there are 1051 registrants. Many joined through campaign visits to villages near Kanpur city. A sizeable number of learners are full time gardeners or farmers. Since horticulture is part of the syllabus of high schools in Uttar Pradesh State, a number of high school students have also signed up.
The course commenced on 22 November 2014 and will run for four weeks. Professor Prabhakar of IITK serves as the faculty in charge. Course certificates to eligible participants will be issued jointly by the Center for Development of Technical Education, IIT-Kanpur and COL.
Course material is accessible via the web at http://mobimooc.org.