The TESS-India MOOC Journey of Dhenkanal, Odisha

An Experience Report by Subhashree Pradhan

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On 23rd Nov. 2015, the second phase of MOOC was inaugurated in the district in the form of a mela, where more than 140 teachers of Sadar block (TESS-India project block) participated. The objective of this mela was to introduce MOOC to the participants, brief them about the six-week course module and encourage them to register into MOOC. During the workshop, participants learnt about MOOC, its objectives, importance of taking the course, its design and contents, use of technology in pursuing the course, no. of working hours to complete the course etc. The participants were oriented about MOOC and the course structure and use of technology in the six week course, followed by an online registration of interested participants. More than 100 participants registered themselves into the MOOC on 23rd, which reached to more than 200 in the forthcoming week. The participants of second phase MOOC in the district included TESS-India project school teachers, non TESS-India project school teachers, CRCCs, DIET faculties, pre service pupil teachers, the District Education Officer, and the Block Education Officer of Sadar block, Dhenkanal and the MOOC facilitators.

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A schedule for the facilitation classes in Dhenkanal was designed, in a manner that would be feasible for each participant to avail the classes and successfully complete MOOC. Hence, it was decided that MOOC will reach to participants through contact classes, and it will be held every week from Monday through Saturday in elementary schools at cluster level (17 clusters of Sadar block) and in high schools (3 High schools) on Saturdays, to ensure participation of each and every registered MOOC participant from the district.

Each contact class started with an orientation of the week’s module and course contents and assignments to be completed in that week. The LCD projector was made use in high schools to orient the classroom on the week’s course. Each participant used the desktops in high school and laptops at the cluster level to pursue the course. At the end of each week course, the participants took the quiz for that week. The facilitators ensured that each participant understood the academic part and went thoroughly through the contents, and also assisted them in understanding the contents and addressed the technical difficulties faced, and provided guidance in completing that week course. The MOOC facilitators also followed up with the participants on regular basis to check their progress and difficulties faced, if any, and thus, extended their support wherever required to ensure completion of course. The final contact class of MOOC was on 9th January 2016.

Key Learning’s:

    • First and foremost, it was learnt that MOOC was new to all the participants and none of the teacher participants had taken an online course earlier, and very few had knowledge about computers before taking the course. However, there was excitement and keen interest among participants to learn about an online course and using computers.
    • The course module and information, and facilitation classes were well appreciated by the participants. Participants shared that the TESS-India OER materials were very helpful for the participants as it promoted self learning and secondly, the resources are useful tool for improving quality of teaching.
    • Few participants who were anxious about the use of computers during the first week of MOOC, made it effortlessly during second week of the course. It was interesting to see that over a period of time, participants were able to log into their Edx accounts by themselves, and took the course. Most of them completed their assignments way before the deadlines and waited for the opening of next week’s course.
    • It was impressive to note that sometimes, the CRCCs facilitated the classes and made use of TESS-India tablets during contact class. The participants also guided their fellow participants in completing the course.
    • Many participants used their mobile phones and  TESS-India tablets to complete the course.
    • Participants shared with each other, their experiences about MOOC, peer assessment and the feedback they received, during facilitation classes and on social media platform such as Whats App. A Whats App group was created by one of the MOOC participant, which is named as “ MOOCers of Dhenkanal”. Many participants kept on enquiring about the opening of forthcoming week course and the contact classes. 
My experience with MOOC…

Monalisha, elementary school teacher of Bhapur girls PS, Bhapur cluster says,

“ I have successfully completed the six week MOOC course. I had a very good experience. During MOOC mela, I registered into the course by myself, with the help of facilitator and helped my fellow participants to enroll into the course. I was initially very nervous about MOOC. Now after completing the course, I feel very confident and I am gathered a very knowledge about an online course. In my cluster, we made use of mobile phones to take this course. We made little use of computers and laptops. Thanks to MOOC team for providing me the opportunity to take part in MOOC”.

Opportunities:

  • First, the keen interest seen among participants to pursue an online course is itself a motivation. Out of 256 registered MOOC participants in the district, 226 have successfully completed the course. This accounts for 88.28% of the completion rate.
  • Second, the support extended by district administration and the school authorities  is commendable. Due to their support only, it was possible to conduct the classes in high schools and elementary schools with limited challenges.
  • Third, if not very good, but still internet connectivity (through use of dongle and SIM cards with different network connections) works in most of the places of the clusters. This gives the scope to reach out to the participants and facilitate classes in their vicinity.
  • On current date, some participants have registered into few others online courses on Edx. This reflects that MOOC has created a positive attitude towards self-learning and has boosted their self confidence in using computers/online course.

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Challenges and ways to resolve issues:

  • One major challenge was the poor internet connectivity in interior clusters. This issue  was resolved by identifying certain clusters which had good network support and secondly, by carrying dongles with multiple  SIM cards of different network connections.
  • Another challenge is that the digital literacy among few participants was very low. Due to this, they found it difficult to type their post and participate in the discussion. Moreover, regional language being odia, some found it difficult to express their ideas in English language. However it is remarkable to note that by second and third week of the course, most of these participants comfortably handled the computers and took the course through the support of facilitators
  • Previously, it was planned that the cluster level contact classes would also be held at the high schools of that cluster. However, it was later learnt that even though the laboratories are well equipped, there is low network connectivity in those areas. Hence, to combat this problem, the cluster level classes were held in primary schools through use of laptops, mobile phone, tablets, and dongles.

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 Testimonials:

“MOOC is a very interesting course. It gives vast information about OER, which I feel, is the best way to apply in the classroom situation. This makes the teachers active and energetic to participate in their concerned subjects”. – Sadhana Mohanty- Govindpur UP school, govindpur cluster

 “Today I completed the assignments of week 3 and 4. Thanks to MOOC facilitators who have been providing us guidance all the while. I feel proud to have participated in an online MOOC course. It gives me immense joy and lot of inspiration to improve my classroom teaching practices through use of OER. Thanks to TESS-India for bringing this to us and I believe that TESS-India will bring revolutionary change in our education system. Hearty gratitude to TESS-India for giving me this opportunity to participate in MOOC.”- Smrutimitra Mohanty- Sankarpur Nodal UPS, Sankarpur cluster:

 “I teach all subjects in my school. I took the MOOC course and I am very happy to take it. The facilitation classes were very helpful and this course helped me in so many ways. I took an online course for the first time. It enhances my computer knowledge and most importantly, I came across so many materials of OER. Thank you MOOC facilitators and thank you TESS-India”.- Ambuja kjuamr prusty, Sarion UPS, Mangalpur cluster

 “I had very limited knowledge about computers and no knowledge about internet. I was afraid if I will be able to do this course. But I got registered and after one and two week course, I felt very confident. MOOC is not a very difficult course as I thought earlier. Not I have completed MOOC and I am feeling proud.”-Babita Sahoo, Salapada school.

 “MOOC is a very interesting course and I felt very happy to participate in discussions and to provide feedback to others. The OERs are very helpful for self learning and to apply in classroom practices. Thank you, MOOC”- Kalyani Sahoo, Jawahar Nodal UPS

 “MOOC is an open course for all. Everybody can participate in it without any hesitation. I like it because there are lot of things for learning through OER and I am very much benefited by it”.- Arjun Nayak, Elementary school teacher, Raidih UP School.

“MOOC is a very interesting course which makes us aware about open education resources. It is a good way of acquiring knowledge. I am very happy to join this course and it is a joy to learn through an online method”.-Swapnamayee Nayak, Elementary school teacher, Balyamba UP school

“MOOC is a vast and open online course. I did not know about online course earlier. But now I am interested in an online course after taking MOOC. There are lot of things to learn from OER. I am enjoying this course very much”.- Lipsa Tosh, Elementary school teacher, CS Prasad UP school

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One Response to The TESS-India MOOC Journey of Dhenkanal, Odisha

  1. Rashmi Hota says:

    I have completed mooc and I gather new experiences from this course.It will certainly improve my classroom transaction with students.Teaching learning activities in the classes will improve after completing this course.Thanks to our facilitators who have helped me to a great extent for completion of this course.

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