The MOOC round table at India France Technological Summit, New Delhi

The MOOC round table at the India France Technological Summit Oct 23-24 , 2013
( This is a post before I go to the event. I will probably do another post, after I have had interactions I eagerly look forward to)
In an event whose purpose is to promote technological exchange and trade between the 2 countries, the MOOC round table is listed as a ‘ transversal’ or what one might call a ‘ cross-cutting’ session.
And it surely is a very important one influencing all the other themes ranging from ‘aerospace and aero-nautics’ to ‘water and agriculture’ addressed in about 30 sessions spread over 2 days.
The key to success in all these areas is a new disruptive model of learning that can rapidly educate large number of people, in newly emerging areas where local expertise may be inadequate, and most of all the skills acquired may have a rather short shelf life. So life-long learning, un-learning and re-learning efficiently is the main attribute of the new education and training model that spans K-12 through higher education and continuous professional development.

While at school, I read ‘ Letters from a Father to his daughter’ a set of 30 letters written by Jawaharlal Nehru to Indira Gandhi which was in fact a splendid example of distance learning in history and world civilizations.
At University I had the good fortune of being addressed in a letter by Richard Feynman as ‘ pen student’ and for the last few years I watch youtube videos from eminent persons from round the globe.
And then Coursera happened, and suddenly the Ugly Duckling of distance learning is now a swan with mobile Internet, the flipped class pedagogy, nano-MOOCs, micro-MOOCs & mini-MOOCs for inclusive education of ‘ life-long learners’ by ‘ global Independent Educators’ not constrained by Institutional limitations.

The key point is the teacher. Most people are racing after platforms or content. But content can be priceless or content can be worthless. It depends upon how the content is transacted. And platforms can get displaced overnight.
Is wonder, curiosity, excitement and jaw dropping moments part of the learning experience? Or are we running the learning expedition through compliance requirements of accrediting and regulating agencies.
An expert can display his expertise or competence and that can in some circumstances be magical. But a teacher can make an expert out of an ignorant person, and that can be divine. The technology of MOOCs in the hands of a good teacher can have a huge transformational effect.

At LMP Education Trust we have recently done the following:
* An event on Transforming Indian Education with MOOCs on 9th August 2013
* Generated interest in the fields of Technical education, Management Education, Continuing Medical and Legal Education, Teacher Training and School Education
* Ran a MOOC on OER( Open Education Resources) for 4 weeks (with support from Commonwealth of Learning, Vancouver, Canada) , which had >1500 participants from about 90 countries anchored by a pair of co-chairs Dr.RC Sharma from Delhi and Prof. Sanjay Jasola from Dehradun and guest faculty from Canada, Malaysia, Sweden, US,UK etc.

What we are continuing to do is :
* Encouraging educators at all stages to articulate an idea for a MOOC that they may want to create and deliver in their domain of knowledge and interest
* Created following resources to help create a MOOC:
* a one-pager ‘About MOOCs’ at flipMOOC.wordpress.com
* a nano-MOOC : the ABC of MOOCs
* a micro-MOOC :Grow your own MOOC
* and a mini-MOOC: The MOOC Primer
* There is also a mentoring program for developing MOOCs

A list of MOOCs on offer, categorised as nano-MOOCs, micro-MOOCs and mini-MOOCs is described at the appropriate pages of this site.

The dominance of the ‘Anglo-centric hothouse’ of the US,Canada,UK and Australia is sometimes perceived as a new form of cultural imperialism”.
MOOCs, with their need for connectivity, online literacy and English language skills, are excluding a very large population from keeping up with the desired learning for the 2nd decade of the 21st Century.
We are therefore encouraging in India the development of MOOCs in Hindi and other regional languages

Call for further action: Follow up and suggestions for the next 5 steps
1. Supporting prospective MOOC creators with both new pedagogy and new technologies to be in a position to say for any learning need : ” there’s a MOOC for that”
2. Develop models for new facilities and experiences that encourage learners to visit physical sites that are successors to present day schools and university campuses. A sort of cross between Disneyland, the Smithsonian and the British Museum.
3. Designing models for ‘MOOC studios’ where a team of subject matter experts, instructional designers, education marketeers come in with their story and raw inputs and leave with a MOOC launched. A nano-MOOC in half a day, a micro-MOOC in a day and a mini-MOOC in about a week or two.
4. An Indo-French collaboration program could be launched to bring bi-lingual ( English and French) MOOCs to countries of the world who could benefit from it. India is already well known for knowledge outsourcing, and could be made a hub for such a project with satellite centres in Mauritius and Seychelles perhaps, as they can prove effective gateways to the African region. This initiative could have as its components the 3 activities suggested above.

May a thousand MOOCs bloom

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