possible solutions to include vulnerable learners in MOOC


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Presentation given during the eMOOCs2014 conference in Lausanne, Switzerland. The talk focuses on the challenges for MOOC to include vulnerable learner groups (women, migrants, youngsters, disabled people, and learners from cultural minorities) in order to decrease digital divide.

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possible solutions to include vulnerable learners in MOOC

  1. 1. Challenges for conceptualising EU MOOC for vulnerable learner groups Inge de Waard (Belgium/UK), Michael Sean Gallagher (Korea/UK), Ronda Zelezny-Green (US/UK/Kenya), Laura Czerniewicz (South Africa), Stephen Downes (Canada), Agnes Kukulska-Hulme (UK) , Julie Willems (Australia)
  2. 2. Full paper with extended references and argumentation can be found here: eMOOCs2014 full paper on the topic
  3. 3. MOOC = education for all? What is said  What is done Heard during #eMOOCs2014: • 79,8 % MOOC participants bachelor’s degree or higher (Christensen, 2013) from Tharindu Liyanagunawardena. • Low human development index (HDI) biggest factor on completion rates and ranking of the learner experience => lower score for low HDI - Matthieu Cisel • “MOOCs are good support material. However they do not offer a good alternative for ex-cathedra courses” – this affects sole online learners and their education (opening speech Patrick Aebischer) • Social change coming from MOOC gets highlighted, but exceptions • 2iE taxi brousse African MOOC • UNx => unemployed transform to entrepreneural • MOOC integrated in local (African) course
  4. 4. share YOUR ideas • Share thoughts via @ignatia • Or mail ingedewaard@gmail.com for future cooperation/collaboration on papers on the subject MOOC is not the educational solution, change & inclusion are
  5. 5. OpenupEd 8 foci • Openness to learners (learner needs) • Spectrum of diversity (language, culture) • Digital openness • Learner centered approach • Independent learning • Media-supported interaction • Recognition options • Quality focus See more on the slidedeck from Darco Jansen and Fred Muller Visit the OpenupEd portal here.
  6. 6. OpenupEd MOOC portal What is meant by cultural and linguistic diversity, openness… if vulnerable groups such as migrants come into the picture? What must WE address?
  7. 7. Potentially vulnerable learners Groups established by Include-Ed: women, young people, migrants, cultural groups (e.g. Roma) and people with disabilities … but MOOC also attract virtual migrant learners (residing in other parts of the world and potentially vulnerable)
  8. 8. Portmess (2013) Knowledge in itself without a larger narrative of purpose lacks moral meaning
  9. 9. Digital and Social exclusion(s) Digital divide (age, gender, ethnic clustering, financial conditions, work insecurity, social insecurity…) Solution? Reaching social inclusion by planning a consciously inclusive education from early on, and by embedding inclusive strategies for all vulnerable groups. Giving all groups an active, knowledgeable voice.
  10. 10. Increasing diversity of learner groups Non-participation in adult and lifelong learning is deeply entrenched in ‘trajectories’ based on class, gender, generation, ethnicity and geography, established at an early age. • Solution? Digital literacies/skills that accompany MOOC participation need to be taught and made measurable (indicators) to track the reach of MOOCs among migrants, women, youth, specific cultures and disabled learners from all backgrounds.
  11. 11. Formal and informal learning The more informal the nature of the online learning activity, the more the factors beyond involuntary exclusion, become important. Solution? A MOOC can have informality embedded in its format. (let course foci come from learners: effectively dealing with unemployment challenges, how to reenter the job market, etc.).
  12. 12. Local versus global The tension between local and global regions is increased as digital communication has become a global reality. This glocalisation of education risks perpetuating the status quo of existing power relations between regions. • Solution? In order to avoid the disappearance of local knowledge and cultures, special attention needs to be given to both the experts as well as the citizens with vulnerable from those regions and language groups, as well as specific vulnerable cultures.
  13. 13. North – South postcolonial tensions Education in society always reflects the values of the dominant political ideology. A new postcolonial tension. • Solution? Reflect on new courses initiatives, special care in the design and implementation of MOOCs, to mitigate these potential effects.
  14. 14. Closed versus Open Educational Resources (OER) OER can, and does include full courses, textbooks, streaming videos, exams, software, and any other materials or techniques supporting learning (OER Foundation, 2011, p. 1). But what people think others need is not always that content which is really needed. Content is contextual. • Solution? Open educational resources (OERs) allow for the greatest possible use and reuse in the MOOC context due to their availability and adaptation while ensuring quality (e.g. translation, changes toward authentic context).
  15. 15. Digital identity Identity negotiation and its relationship to societal power and status relations is also clearly implicated in the phenomenon of ‘stereotype threat’, it can seriously undercut the achievement of immigrant and minority students • Solution? In order to avoid alienating learners from vulnerable groups, a diversity in identities should be provided in the examples accompanying MOOC content. Course content and activity that promotes a diversity of identity should be encouraged. Pre-course design check for actors in course.
  16. 16. Learner access, ubiquity and success Low participation rates have implications for social and economic development, especially given poor completion rates in education. Access, ubiquity is important. • Solution? The most pressing result needed is success (by whichever definition) in order to safeguard the vulnerable groups from the downward spiral towards exclusion.
  17. 17. A lot is done => collaborations, but per course inclusion needs to be ensured But top-driven collaboration does not ensure societal wide inclusion. True learner participation needs to be ensured, enabling all citizens to keep themselves out of the pitfalls of the knowledge society (e.g. poverty, exclusion). For the people by the people + the personal is political
  18. 18. Share, discuss, contact now or later, with pleasure E-mail: ingedewaard (at) gmail.com Blog: ignatiawebs.blogspot.com Twitter: http://twitter.com/Ignatia Slideshare (ppt): http://www.slideshare.net/ignatia linkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/ingedewaard Publications/presentations: http://www.ingedewaard.net/pubconsulpres.htm Academia.edu: https://open.academia.edu/IgnatiaIngedeWaard 18