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Perspectives from South African MOOC takers: understanding transitions in and out of learning and work

(UCT Principal Investigator: A/Prof. Jeff Jawitz)

Back (left to right): Janet Small, Lucia Thesen, Gideon Nomdo, Tasneem Jaffer. Front (left to right): Jeff Jawitz, Aditi Hunma, Sukaina Walji, Andrew Deacon

Back (left to right): Janet Small, Lucia Thesen, Gideon Nomdo, Tasneem Jaffer. Front (left to right): Jeff Jawitz, Aditi Hunma, Sukaina Walji, Andrew Deacon

Many people are increasingly seeking to move between work and learning, between different disciplines of knowledge, and between different levels of learning. Understanding and supporting such transition pathways ­ in and out of learning and work ­ is important for universities who are serving increasingly diverse cohorts of students. Specifically understanding how South Africans make use of open online learning opportunities for these transitions is important to inform the development of what types of online education provision universities could offer.

Through the UCT MOOCs Project, we have data related to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) from student enrolments from across the world, which includes South African students and potential students. This research will focus on the South Africans who have participated in MOOCs offered by UCT because comparatively little is known about this segment of students.

The core research question is ‘how do South African MOOC takers, and specifically students, use open online courses to support transitioning in and out of learning and work?’

This research project will develop CHED staff’s understanding of the value and problems of accessing online support courses for people facing transitions in and out of learning and work, and inform the development of more appropriate online offerings. CHED is being asked to give guidance to the University about the use of technology in support of the key goals of teaching and learning in the context of inequality. This research will enable us to better understand learners’ experiences and uses of online offerings. Our development of MOOCs, and ADP’s applications of online modes and platforms to expanding support services offer a unique opportunity to survey a large number of learners who have already engaged in some way with UCT’s online educational support offerings.

Research outputs

Deacon, A., Jawitz, J., Small, J., Walji, S. (2017) MOOCs and Transitions: Pathways in and out of learning and work. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317660986_MOOCs_and_transitions_pathways_in_and_out_of_learning_and_work  

Proceedings of the Fourth Biennial Conference of the South African Society for Engineering Education, p60-69. (Presentation on SlideShare https://www.slideshare.net/adeacon/moocs-and-transitions-pathways-in-and-out-of-learning-and-work)