Origin of the MOOC on MOOCs Course

The decision to design the MoM course was seeded to several events.

In February, 2014, the Technical Education Quality Improvement Program (TEQIP), a branch of the Ministry of Human Resource Development in India, contacted IIT-K about designing MOOCs catered to learners in India and abroad with a focus on engineering. IIT-K were in agreement with the proposal and added the desire to build a new platform to deliver MOOCs.

The premise behind designing a new platform was two-fold. First, previous experience of developers and instructors at IIT-K in using varying learning management systems were limited in customization and/or offered an unappealing interface. Those at IIT-K were intent on ameliorating these shortcomings through a novel platform. Second, an open source platform that was designer and user friendly would be conducive to use by wider audiences intent on experimenting with designing, teaching or enrolling in a MOOC. Considering the high levels of attrition associated with MOOCs, the approach to create a platform with designer and user interests as a central focus was prudent, and surprisingly novel.

The second event was in March, 2014 in New Delhi. A meeting convened between the Commonwealth of Learning and the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS). The meeting operated under the heading of “MOOCs for Capacity Building in Indian Agriculture“. The aim of the meeting was to brainstorm the potential of MOOCs offered through varying devices to augment knowledge and skills in agricultural practices in India and other emerging countries.

During this meeting it was proposed that there could be a need and audience for a MOOC to be used in a wider sustainable development context. COL representative Dr. V. Balaji communicated with Prof. TV Prabhakar of IIT-K, who at the time was working on a course entitled Mobiles for Malis[1], designed to augment knowledge of horticultural practices through mobile phones among farmers with limited literacy skills.

Dr. Balaji’s proposal to engage in another MOOC project with focus on design of the course type itself was well-received. As noted in the Introduction these two individuals had earlier led the design and delivery of a MOOC entitled, Mobiles for Development. The success of this course was another prompt for COL and IIT-K to partner on a new initiative. The agreement with TEQIP and IIT-K to produce a new MOOC platform seemed like a logical fit in which to deliver the novel MOOC course proposed by Dr. Balaji. The beta version of the platform, known as mooKIT, would deliver the novel MOOC, which was named MOOC on MOOCs. The course would be offered in the fall, 2014 for five weeks.


  1. Mali is a Hindi term that means gardener.


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