An online questionnaire was provided to seven members of the M4D MOOC development team members in March 2014, four months after the conclusion of the course. The questionnaire asked team members to consider the course from a design perspective, and in particular from their roles as team members.

Five team members provided responses to nine questions that included eight open-ended text-based response questions, and one question that required a checklist response. The responses are provided in the sections that follow, along with some discussion of the responses from the reviewer’s perspective.

Question 1

Question Development team responses
What was your role in the M4D MOOC course design, development or delivery processes?

·         1. Instructor (course design and content creation) 2. Technology expert for MOOC platform

·         Played a role in all parts – conceptualise, design, develop and delivery

·         Instructor

·         I helped in the development of the course by creating 8 videos that were used in the course. I was also a moderator for a synchronous session and I participated in the asynchronous forums.

·         I was mainly responsible for setting up and managing the technical platform, content release process and delivering technical lectures on Android, Mobile OS and App Development.

Reviewer comments:

Each of the participants who responded indicated a clear understanding of her/his role within the M4D course team.

Experienced educators with a background in open and distance learning (ODL) might be expected to understand the differentiated staffing models typical of ODL institutions and programs. In the case of the M4D course, the experience of the individual team members was revealed through the clarity with which each of those professionals specified her/his role within the team in the questionnaire responses. They knew their roles and executed them within the M4D course framework.

As a general recommendation, the selection of participants for MOOC design, development or delivery processes would benefit from having individuals with significant ODL experience as a part of the team. MOOCs are complex educational projects requiring defined instructional development and delivery skill sets.

Question 2

Question Development team responses
What were your personal goals associated with participation in the design, development and/or delivery of the M4D MOOC?  That is, what did you hope or expect to achieve through your participation in M4D?

·         Wanted to share my knowledge in the domain and learn about how to ‘run a MOOC’ – end to end. Also wanted to explore platforms for delivering a MOOC.

·         Share my knowledge of mobile learning and participate in an m-learning dialogue; guide students; support the m-learning community

·         (These points are not in any particular order.) 1. Knowledge dissemination. 2. Gain more experience with new delivery model (i.e. MOOC) for knowledge dissemination. 3. Showcase and attain greater visibility for our capabilities for end-to-end design and operation of MOOCs. 4. Generating new knowledge/ideas via online discussions that happened over this MOOC’s forums. 5. Validate our costing models for end-to-end design and operation of the MOOCs of this nature.

·         I believe that learning materials should be available and made affordable to people in developing countries. This was my personal goal in getting involved in the MOOC course. I am also interested in MOOC research and this project gave me ideas on research areas that are needed.

·         I was interested in broadening my knowledge in the space of M4D by learning from other instructors and students. I was also interested in gaining practical experience of managing a MOOC platform, understanding issues in running a MOOC like generating good quality content, etc.

Reviewer comments:

The statements of participants about their personal goals for M4D were highly congruent with stated aims and objectives of the course, and the partnership between ITT Kanpur and COL

Not only did team members express a strong desire to provide accessible learning at low cost, they also expressed a willingness to both learn and share knowledge, and to become co-learners with students and other instructors. In particular, team members expressed a desire to learn more about MOOCs as a delivery format and as a pedagogical practice, and through the course contribute new knowledge.

Question 3

Question Development team responses

Which teaching or pedagogical strategies do you believe were supported within the M4D MOOC (for example: information transmission, experiential learning, inquiry-based learning, collaborative learning, knowledge management)?


Comment on any that you feel should be added or elaborated.

·         Major pedagogical strategies supported by M4D in that order: 1. Information transmission 2. Inquiry-based learning 3. Collaborative learning

·         Information transmission – is the major one. Experiential learning and inquiry-based learning were handled through homework (not graded – hence not known if the student has done them).

·         Information transmission, collaborative learning, knowledge co-creation through dialogue

·         There was information transmission in the asynchronous session where participants were able to view videos, access the PowerPoint presentations, and read the transcripts of the videos. This MOOC was flexible since participants who were not able to watch the videos because of low connectivity, were able to download the PowerPoint slides and the video transcripts to read at a later time offline. The MOOC allow for participants to connect with each other using forums. The forums were very active. In addition to posing questions, participants provided information on their own experience with mobile for development. One suggestion is that there should be sub-forums where groups work together on problems and projects and share with other participants. There could be more problem-based activities.

·         I believe that M4D MOOC supported many teaching strategies like learning material from field experts (video lectures/slides) were following information transmission strategy. Participation in forums and chat rooms provided collaborative learning among students. A very good quality of content has been generated in forums and chat rooms.

Reviewer comments:

Team members’ responses indicated that the primary strategy was information transmission in the design of the M4D course. Collaborative discussions contributed to knowledge building and better understanding.

Question 4

Question Development team responses

Please comment on the instructional design or technology support that was available to you as a developer or instructor for the M4D MOOC, and whether the support met your pedagogical objectives for the course and its students?















Reviewer comments:

Most of the team comments dealt with the technical aspects of instructional resource production. In some cases team members had knowledge or skills that enabled them to produce their own resources. In other cases specialized support was provided, particularly for video production.


One role that was not discussed explicitly in comments was instructional design support for the primary structure of the learning outcomes, resources, activities and assessment strategies within the M4D course. This is an area of practice that also requires specialized support from professionals.


·         Instructional design: It was mainly from my own experience; I did not look for any specific support in this area. However, I reviewed my lecture briefly with co-instructors to get their feedback for any glaring issues or improvements. Technology support: I myself was one of the technology support persons (There were others as well) for M4D MOOC. Tech support included: 1. Managing content on the LMS platform that we used. 2. Monitoring the web server for security and other issues (usual stuff associated with any public facing web application). 3. Editing raw lecture videos. I believe that both instructors and students were satisfied with the generation and delivery of content (whether generated by instructors as video lectures, or by students via online discussions).

·         For creating content, we used a mash-up of tools readily available in the Institute – like recording studio, Adobe video editing, MS PowerPoint, IHMC Cmap tools. Do wish we had professional level video editing and animation support was available.

·         Instructional design support provided during the video creation process was crucial to the success of my contribution to the MOOC; well-designed professionally looking multimedia materials are a vital element of any online course.

·         The video production facilities at COL allowed me to develop the videos. The LMS worked well for the course. For MOOC in developing countries it is important to have simple LMS that allow people with low connectivity to access the learning materials. The LMS was appropriate for this.

·         We used Sakai, which is an open source MOOC platform. From functionality point of view, it had most of the features available to us. However, a lot of effort has been spent in customizing these features according to our needs. For course registration process, we developed a new Drupal based application.

Question 5

Question Development team responses

Please comment on the attributes of the technical platform used to deliver the M4D MOOC and in particular its ability to support your pedagogical objectives for students?








·         Primarily we wanted to have two pedagogical threads: 1. For dissemination of content 2. For allowing collaboration amongst participants. Second one — collaboration — inherently allowed for inquiry based learning. Technology platform that we chose supported the above two threads (it had online discussion forums and chat rooms, and also well sequenced video lectures). Other area where choice of technology platform was important was content creation. Chosen tools allowed us to record/edit video lectures in a flexible manner.

·         Used Sakai, hosted on Amazon. It is not a sophisticated platform like edX, but it suited quite well since our audience were not challenged by the platform. The chat room could have been better, though.

·         The selected platform offered an environment conducive to online learning through resource and expertise sharing. Materials were well organized and linked to the relevant discussion and private space in the platform. There were tools for synchronous and asynchronous interaction supporting knowledge co-creation. The platform was rather easy to navigate and a variety of tools were available to enable a more personalized learning experience. Students could easily contact other learners as well as instructors.

·         The platform allowed for the presentation of the information and for forum participation. It was simple for the novice to use. In this course, there was technical help for those with access problems.

·         The Sakai platform was robust and customizable. We had very few minor technical issues during the course. It had all features to handle our pedagogical objectives.

Reviewer comments:

As indicated by team responses, the Sakai platform worked well for the design and delivery of the M4D course and supported the two primary design needs for dissemination of content and support of discussions. Some refinements to chat spaces and discussion forums may be needed in future courses.

Question 6

Question Development team responses

Please comment about how well you believe the M4D MOOC design supported the desired learning outcomes that the course was intended to deliver.









Reviewer comments:

Team members took the opportunity in this question to comment about the success of the M4D course in achieving its desired learning outcomes, and to offer thoughts on how the M4D design might be improved.


Improvement strategies suggested included:


o    Peer groups or TAs to support learners

o    More quizzes after each lecture

o    Lecture-based discussion threads

o    Personalization tactics

o    Activities to help develop skills

o    Opportunities for local sub-groups, support groups and access to locale experts


The recommendations for improvement cited by team members in Question 6 should be used as a set of design features for consideration and testing in future iterations of the M4D course.



·         Course participants, expectedly, had large variation in background and course access environment. Despite this diversity, the online discussions/chats that happened on M4D showed that the intended learning outcomes were achieved to a great extent.

·         Correcting the homework (either through peer groups or through TAs) would have helped greatly. More quizzes, especially in the middle or immediately after each lecture would be good. Lecture based discussion threads (even though this was attempted, platform support was not available) would have helped.

·         As mentioned above the MOOC design was effective; however, additional strategies to guide participants to the discussions and materials that were of particular interest to them would be desirable. For instance, forming sub-groups or discussion forums focusing on a particular issue/topic as opposed to having all discussions in one overwhelmingly large forum. Any strategies to provide more guidance towards resources/discussions on particular interests of learners, as well as personalizing the experience – making participants feel that they are individual student as opposed one of a few thousands of students.

·         The learning outcomes of the course were more of an awareness of M4D and information on how to use M4D and case studies around the world. Hence, the design supported the learning outcomes. If the learning outcomes were to develop skills in M4D then more depth should be covered and the participants should be given activities to develop the skills. To develop the skills, a blended approach will be good where participants learn the information in the MOOC and they work with local experts to develop the hands on skills.

·         The course was designed to teach technical concepts through real life examples and case studies. By looking at the participation in forums and chat rooms, I believe that the course did a great job in empowering participants (with little or no technical background) to use mobile technologies in development issues.

Question 7

Question Development team responses
Please comment on what you believe might be desirable attributes that students should possess to be successful in a course such as the M4D MOOC.

·         1. Should be comfortable and enthusiastic about online engagement. 2. Should have access to the Internet.

·         Engagement. Wanting to learn rather than a certificate (we had a few like that)

·         Commitment to participation and completion of the entire course or all the elements of the course that are relevant to them, which might be achieved by customizing the learning path for individuals in the course.

·         Students should have the following attributes: (1) good communications skills (2) good ethics not to offend anyone (3) basic computer skills (4) flexibility in time to access the course materials and to participate in synchronous sessions because of different time zones (5) good time management skills (6) be able to read and understand the language the language the MOOC is delivered in.

·         To be successful in a course like M4D MOOC, students should regularly cover the course material and actively participate in the course activities. Apart from learning content, the course provided a platform to students for discussion on development issues with the field experts as well as other students.

Reviewer comments:

Desirable attributes for students in a course such M4D included skills that might be used to describe independent learners or distance learners. Each team members described somewhat different attributes.

Question 8

Question Development team responses
Please identify the key features of the M4D MOOC, from your perspective. Using labels from the M•O•O•C illustration below as a guide, please make your choices from the checklist in Question 9, below. ·         No responses were required in Question 9. Questionnaire participants were asked to review the illustration in preparation for a self-assessment of the M4D MOOC’s attributes in relation to the illustration provided as an organizer for design attributes associated with MOOCs.

Image by Mathieu Plourde (2013). figure8

Question 9

Question Development team responses
Use the checklist to select what you believe to be features of the M4D MOOC, using the diagram in Question 8 above as a reference. ·         The graph below describes the scale of response on each checklist item.


Reviewer comments:

The responses by the M4D development team are indicative of the hybrid MOOC environment that was created for the course.  Although M4D registered over 2,000 students, of which over 1,400 were active learners in the course, the design intent of a majority of the team was to create community and connections as a part of the learning experience for students. In this sense, the M4D more closely resembles edX style MOOC courses than it does either the large-scale xMOOCs, or connectivist cMOOCs, where the curriculum is formed through student-instructor interactions with significant exploratory, social and experiential components. M4D sits midway along a continuum that has xMOOCs on one end and cMOOCs at the opposite end.

Other comments from the development team questionnaires concerning recommendations for local support groups, segmented and structured discussion forums, and additional experiential and hands-on activities for students, hint at a desire to design a MOOC environment that moves closer to a cMOOC format.

Question 10

Question Development team responses
Please provide additional comments about the design intent or design features of the M4D MOOC that were not addressed in the previous questions.

·         None.

·         We send the course material to some of the students, on a CD. The course was about Technology for the non-technologist. It was about ‘solution architecture’ — a design of the solution by the Domain expert with ‘architectural level knowledge’ of the technology (for example, missed calls and how to use them in a solution).

·         Having participated in a number of MOOCs, I believe that it would be beneficial to learners to provide them with a more personalized experience offering expert support in terms of guidance through the course materials and activities as well as the subject matter expertise. The role of the instructor and other learning supports remains vital which results in certain limitations in terms of the cost and start/end dates of the course.

·         For the first implementation of this MOOC, the design and delivery were excellent. For future delivery the following are suggested. (1) Have weekly forums (2) Get people in local areas to meet each other for collaboration (3) summarize the forums so participants get a sense of completion (4) provide high level discussion questions for critical thinking.

Reviewer comments:

Responses to the final question about design intent and design features reiterated some of the recommendations that have been noted in previous responses including:

  • Use of alternative resource delivery formats for student in situations where Internet connections and bandwidth issues were an impediment to participation in the course (i.e. CDs and DVDs)
  • Personalization of the learning experience to better meet the needs of students
  • Structured, weekly discussions forums
  • Engage students in higher-order critical thinking through discussion strategies
  • Discussion and/or topic summaries on a weekly basis


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MOOC on Mobiles for Development Report by Commonwealth of Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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