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Title:The muffled accomplishments: South Asian digital learners’ invisible footsteps in MOOCS
Author(s):Amina, Tabassum
Director of Research:Cope, William
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):McCarthy, Cameron
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Bresler, Liora; Lindgren, Robb
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):online learning, South Asia, MOOCs, higher education
Abstract:Online education has become a popular tool for learning and it has gained incredible positive publicity with the emergence of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Learning through MOOCs has gained momentum over the last few years as prestigious universities and their esteemed faculty members offer more and more courses online. Millions have enrolled in MOOCs and they come not only from developed countries but also many developing countries. India has the second highest enrollment in MOOCs globally. It is imperative to understand the MOOCs user population from developing countries and more specifically, from South Asian countries. MOOCs have been touted as a plausible solution to the developing world’s lack of access to quality higher education because anyone can access the information, as long as they have access to the Internet. However, there have been limited research focused on how MOOCs has changed access and quality of education for students in the Global South. The goal of this research was to understand, interpret and explain the expectations and experiences of the South Asian female learners who have enrolled in at least one MOOC. This study also examines how MOOCs have impacted their personal, academic, and professional lives. It was a qualitative study that incorporated three–phase data collection and triangulation of that data. The researcher’s observations from the MOOCs experience was a backdrop to the development of the data collection tools and the process of data gathering and data analysis. The use of three sources of data for analysis was one of the most significant aspects of this study as it showed how the incorporation of different data sources can provide a more holistic understanding of the online learners when data is collected through online means and there is no scope for in-person interaction or observations of informants. The study findings show that MOOCs have reached a population in developing countries who are self-motivated to learn but do not have access to the most modern and useful tools and resources in their country or educational institutions. The study also shows that MOOCs although have not been able to reach the people who do not have access to higher education, it has greatly impacted and influenced actions and decisions of South Asian female learners who have actively participated in MOOCs in the past. This study highlights the need to increase awareness of MOOCs platforms so that more self-motivated developing country learners with limited resources can access and learn from these extremely rich sources of knowledge and information. It also suggests that these learners can play the bridging role by internalizing the information from MOOCs and then becoming knowledge providers – by bringing the acquired knowledge to the learners in their own country who cannot directly benefit from MOOCs due to limited access to Internet and technology, inadequate computer skills and limited competency in English.
Issue Date:2018-11-26
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Tabassum Amina
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-02-08
Date Deposited:2018-12

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