The IIT and Col M4D team demonstrated that successfully offering large online courses did not have to use custom and “branded” MOOC platforms of the type used by well-known MOOC providers such as Coursera and Udacity. The open source software platform Sakai was used successfully to provide a MOOC-style course to 1,441 course participants.
Successes and impacts
The course attracted 2,282 registrants from 116 countries. About 63 percent of the registrants were considered to be “active” in the course space (1,441 students).
A total of 333 students were eligible to receive certificates of Competence (244 students) or Participation (89 students). Certificates (P or C) were awarded to approximately 23 percent of active participants in the M4D course.
The top five countries in terms of registrants were India, Nepal, Mauritius, Grenada and South Africa. About 500 registrants were from countries in the Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific regions. About 200 registrants were from the OECD countries, and from Eastern Europe.
Design and delivery
The team demonstrated that teaching quality and content were critical factors in keeping participants interested. The team also demonstrated that high availability of online services is a critical factor to keep students as participants in a MOOC.
Online mentoring /facilitation was a key investment of time for which instructors should be trained and prepared. ODL institutions may have a significant starting advantage in offering MOOCs because of their inherent strengths with pedagogy, resources and expertise to mount large-scale learning programs.
The M4D online course demonstrated that a low-cost, open source software delivery platform combined with open educational resources (OER) could be used effectively to provide a hybrid MOOC environment that served over 1,400 learners.