3 years ago
Sjeanyoon
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The Challenges of ‘Higher-Education Emergencies’
Recently, online courses such as Coursera, have been turning to the developing world for students. There have been instances of UN members or other people working with refugee camps giving USB drives and slide shows to refugees in order to encourage higher learning. The problem is, online courses simply aren't available for most of the population. According to the article, many of the refugees that are interested in this form of education have access to cell phones. These aren't smart phones that are connected to fast internet, so the online courses and applications don't work for them. While it is honorable that online sites are turning their attentions towards parts of the world that have little access to this kind of education, their approach is not working. "Educating the world is about much more than designing online courses that can scale, says the professor. “We can’t come in and do Coursera-style MOOCs,” says Barbara Moser-Mercer, a cognitive psychologist. “My real conviction is, you’ve got to start on the ground. You have to go from bottom up.”" For the full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/18/world/africa/the-challenges-of-higher-education-emergencies.html?ref=education&_r=0
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I think that these sites could do well to hire a few anthropologists (nudge nudge!) as they're able (and trained to be!) very insightful about what might make a programs implementation in a certain region difficult, and ways that might be used to overcome those problems in a sustainable, helpful way.
I guess I understand the idea behind these online courses focusing on these demographics, but I agree with @nehapatel that this needs to be thought through by more than just tech and business people.
I have tried to use Coursera for a few courses, but it is even hard for me to keep up with. If a busy schedule can get in the way of my studies, I can't imagine what poor internet access could mean.