The topic of the M4D course was Mobiles for Development (M4D). Mobile devices have spread on a very large scale in developing countries and they have widespread presence, even in remote areas and among people with little or no history of using information and communications technologies (ICT), or telecommunications services provided through mobile phones or tablet devices.
A primary goal for the M4D course was to determine how best to use MOOCs to serve the development needs of resource-poor communities of learners — those at the “bottom of the pyramid” (Prahalad & Hart, 2002).
To do so, the team conducted the M4D course with a view to better understanding the dynamics surrounding the design, delivery and support issues in delivering the MOOC-style courses in order to develop solutions and action plans that would support its primary goal for the course and lead to improvements in practice in subsequent iterations.
The course team included instructors, resource persons and mentors, and technical staff. Instructors, teachers and mentors were from IIT-Kanpur, IIT-Ropar, COL, Athabasca University, and the National Institute of Bank Management (India).
The following were the M4D MOOC design team members.
- Professor T.V. Prabhakar, Department of Computer Science and Engineering (IIT-Kanpur) was the principal instructor of the course.
- Other members on Professor Prabhakar’s team included:
- Balwinder Sodhi (IIT-Ropar) and Dr. Ashish Agarwal (IIT-Kanpur).
- V. Balaji, Dr. K. Balasubramanian and Dr. A. Umar from COL served as resource persons and were supported by Mr. Ricky Cheng, a specialist in cloud services.
Guest resource persons were featured in video-based case studies of practice from multiple regions of the world.
Some of the instructors gave time to support learner-mentor interactions in the online chat room and discussion forums. Four real-time chat sessions were organized to enable learners to chat (in text) with the instructors online and 18 time zones were covered during the chat sessions.