Addressing these limitations and bringing MOOCs to these underserved regions demands strategic adaptation:
Several MOOC providers, including Coursera and Khan Academy, now offer options to download course materials for offline study. This strategy allows for continuous learning, even without internet access. However, challenges remain around expensive subscriptions for rural communities as well as educational content may not always be suitable for the learners in rural communities who have different needs and educational levels.
Coursera offline function
Another approach involves establishing solar-powered community learning centres, equipped with offline servers housing educational content. These centres can facilitate collaborative learning and problem-solving. However, they need significant investments and local community support to be established and maintained.
Perhaps one of the most significant challenges in bringing MOOCs to remote communities is the prevalent digital literacy gap. According to a report by UNESCO, many students and educators in these communities find it difficult to navigate digital devices and MOOC interfaces due to their unfamiliarity with technology.
Most MOOCs offer globally relevant content, which may not necessarily cater to local learning needs, necessitating the integration of locally curated content.
To address these challenges, The Patatas presents CaseStudy, a portable, durable digital solution that is capable of operating independent of internet connections or power supply.
The heart of CaseStudy is a single board chip computer, a compact, powerful device akin to a computer’s CPU, housed in a waterproof, shockproof unit, making it ideal for transit through harsh terrains on the way to remote areas. It can store, display, and interact with educational content and interface with projectors, phones, and tablets. This device, powered by a portable power bank, makes it a perfect fit for regions with unreliable power supplies.
CaseStudy can serve a small group of teachers in training to a large classroom of students within a radius of 50 metres.
CaseStudy goes beyond being a technological solution. We provide comprehensive technical support and training to help users unfamiliar with the technology. This approach aims to bridge the digital literacy gap, making the tool more accessible for educators and learners alike.
Additionally, CaseStudy emphasizes nurturing a supportive ecosystem. It collaborates with local content providers who generously contribute their materials, ensuring the alignment of content with local learning needs, thus overcoming the challenges posed by the global orientation of traditional MOOCs.
In partnership with various organizations, The Patatas is taking the CaseStudy initiative to communities in South Sudan, Malaysia, Ukraine, among others. They invite everyone to participate in this global mission to improve educational access, particularly for child refugees.
The CaseStudy project epitomizes the belief that education, a fundamental cornerstone for children’s growth and development, should be accessible to even the most remote communities. By integrating MOOCs into these regions, CaseStudy does more than impart knowledge; it offers hope for a brighter future, irrespective of geographical limitations.