Facilitated MOOC support – closed bubbles in a sea of openness by Gabi Witthaus (University of Birmingham)
Facilitated MOOC support – closed
bubbles in a sea of openness
By Gabi Witthaus
MOONLITE Webinar, 14 May 2018
Photo by David Chao on Flickr, CC-BY-SA: https://www.flickr.com/photos/luzhouzjy/4688137270/
• Wrapped MOOCs 1: Connecting local learners to global learning
• Wrapped MOOCs 2: Bringing specific MOOCs to local learners
• Cascading MOOCs
• MOOC support for refugees
Connecting local learners to global learning
• Coursera Learning Hubs, e.g.:
• IDCourserians community in Indonesia (Firmansyah & Timmis, 2016)
• US Dept of State supports Coursera Learning Hubs globally (Coursera, 2015)
• P2P University Learning Circles, e.g.:
• Chicago Public Library (P2P, No date)
• Public libraries bordering Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya (Damasceno, 2017)
• Swedish universities piloting Study Circles:
• Aim is to provide a learning space serving local students, but connected to many
universities around the world (Norberg et al., 2015)
• iLab technology hub in Liberia
• Support for learners in choosing and completing MOOCs (Madaio et al., 2016)
Bringing specific MOOCs to local learners
• MOOC providers offering local support in different locations, e.g.:
• University of Wisconsin-Madison partnered with 21 public libraries around
Climate Change MOOC (Ackerman et al., 2016)
• Third parties providing local support:
• Rlabs in South Africa using UCT’s Changemaker MOOC (Sonday, 2016)
• UWC (South Africa) – cascaded a professional training programme in
HR for Health to 3 African states (Amde et al., 2014)
• Laurillard & Kennedy (2017) – propose that local teachers participate
in MOOCs and cascade them to their own learners
Photo by Jannis on Flickr, CC-BY: https://www.flickr.com/photos/52336371@N07/36865550430/
MOOC support for refugees
• EU Report on Free Digital Learning for refugees – many resources
available (Colucci et al., 2017)
• Jesuit Commons – piloted face-to-face learning in multiple locations
• CARE - weekly MOOC screenings in a refugee camp in Jordan (Bokai,
• University of Geneva INZONE – support for online learning in refugee
camps (University of Geneva, 2017)
• Kiron Open Higher Education in Germany – online and offline support
(Suter & Rampelt, 2017)
MOOC support for refugees - challenges and
• Issues arising:
• Challenges are technical, linguistic and cultural (Moser-Mercer, 2014)
• Women’s access to resources often restricted (Dahya & Dryden-Peterson,
• Increased online retention and success for refugees supported by Kiron in
Germany (Suter & Rampelt, 2017)
Image by Gillie Rhodes on Flick, CC-BY-NC:: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lovestruck94/4454844709/
• Ackerman, S., Mooney, M., Morrill, S., Morrill, J., Thompson, M. and Balenovich, L. K. (2016) ‘Libraries, massive open online courses and the
importance of place’, New Library World, 117(11/12), pp. 688–701. doi: 10.1108/NLW-08-2016-0054.
• Amde, W. K., Sanders, D. and Lehmann, U. (2014) ‘Building capacity to develop an African teaching platform on health workforce development: A
collaborative initiative of universities from four sub Saharan countries’, Human Resources for Health, 12(1), pp. 1–11. doi: 10.1186/1478-4491-12-31.
• Bokai, D. (2017) Insights from using Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in Refugee Camps, OpenIDEO. Available at:
• Colucci, E., Smidt, H., Devaux, A., Vrasidas, C., Safarjalani, M. and Castaño Muñoz, J. (2017) Free Digital Learning Opportunities for Migrants and
Refugees: An Analysis of Current Initiatives and Recommendations for their Further Use. Luxemburg. doi: 10.2760/684414.
• Coursera (2014) New Learning Hubs Locations Hosted by The New York Public Library and Seven Other International Partners Coursera Blog. Available
at: https://blog.coursera.org/new-learning-hubs-locations-hosted-by-the-new-york/ (Accessed: 24 February 2018)
• Coursera (2015) Coursera Learning Hubs, Coursera. Available at: https://api.coursera.org/about/programs/learningHubs (Accessed: 24 February 2018).
• Crea, T. M. (2015) ‘Higher education for refugees: Lessons from a 4-year pilot project’, International Review of Education. Springer Netherlands, 61(2),
pp. 229–239. doi: 10.1007/s11159-015-9484-y.
• Dahya, N. and Dryden-Peterson, S. (2017) ‘Tracing pathways to higher education for refugees: the role of virtual support networks and mobile phones
for women in refugee camps’, Comparative Education. Taylor & Francis, 53(2), pp. 284–301. doi: 10.1080/03050068.2016.1259877.
• Damasceno, C. S. (2017) ‘Massive Courses Meet Local Communities: An Ethnography of Open Education Learning Circles’. Raleigh, NC, pp. 1–192.
• Firmansyah, M. and Timmis, S. (2016) ‘Making MOOCs meaningful and locally relevant? Investigating IDCourserians—an independent, collaborative,
community hub in Indonesia’, Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, 11(11), pp. 1–23. doi: 10.1186/s41039-016-0032-6.
• Laurillard, D. and Kennedy, E. (2017) The potential of MOOCs for learning at scale in the Global South. 31. London.
• Madaio, M. A., Grinter, R. E. and Zegura, E. W. (2016) ‘Experiences with MOOCs in a West-African Technology Hub’, Proceedings of the Eighth
International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development - ICTD ’16, pp. 1–4. doi: 10.1145/2909609.2909633.
• Moser-Mercer, B. (2014) ‘MOOCs in fragile contexts’, in Proceedings of the European MOOC Stakeholder Summit 2014. Lausanne: eLearning Papers,
Open Education Europa, pp. 114–121.
• Moser-Mercer, B., Hayba, E. and Goldsmith, J. (2016) ‘Higher education spaces and protracted displacement: How learner-centered pedagogies and
human-centered design can unleash refugee innovation’, in 2016 UNESCO Chair Conference on Technologies for Development: from Innovation to
Social Impact. Lausanne.
• Nelimarkka, M. and Vihavainen, A. (2015) ‘Alumni & Tenured Participants in MOOCs: Analysis of Two Years of MOOC Discussion Channel Activity’, in
L@S ’15: Proceedings of the Second (2015) ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale. Vancouver, pp. 85–93. doi: 10.1145/2724660.2724671.
• Norberg, A., Händel, Å. and Ödling, P. (2015) ‘Using MOOCs at learning centers in Northern Sweden’, International Review of Research in Open and
Distance Learning, 16(6), pp. 137–151. doi: 10.19173/irrodl.v16i6.2035.
• P2PU (no date) P2PU Learning Circles, P2PU. Available at: https://www.p2pu.org/en/learning-circles/ (Accessed: 18 February 2018).
• Rambe, P. and Moeti, M. (2017) ‘Disrupting and democratising higher education provision or entrenching academic elitism: towards a model of
MOOCs adoption at African universities’, Educational Technology Research and Development. Springer US, 65(3), pp. 631–651. doi: 10.1007/s11423-
• Sonday, A. (2016) New RLabs cafe brings the Social Innovation MOOC to the community, UCT MOOCs Blog. Available at:
https://blogs.uct.ac.za/moocs/2016/12/new-rlabs-cafe-brings-the-social-innovation-mooc-to-the-community/ (Accessed: 18 February 2018).
• Suter, R. and Rampelt, F. (2017) ‘Digital Solutions for Alternative Routes Into Higher Education – Possibilities and Challenges of Digital Teaching and
Learning Scenarios for Refugees: First Results From the Integral2 Project’, in Proceedings of EDULEARN17 Conference 3rd-5th July 2017, Barcelona,
Spain, pp. 4640–4645. doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.2024.
• University of Geneva InZone. (2017) MOOCs4Peace Center [Online]. Available from: http://www.unige.ch/inzone/what-we-do/regions/horn-