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Athabasca University

New MOOC helps spread technology-enabled learning globally

November 29, 2016

As technology is rapidly transforming the face of education, inequality of access remains a persistent reality in developing countries. A new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) offered by the Commonwealth of Learning in partnership with Athabasca University’s Centre for Distance Education seeks to narrow the gap. The Introduction to Technology-Enabled Learning MOOC (TEL-MOOC) will put sustainable tools for digital learning in the hands of teachers worldwide.

For five weeks beginning on January 9, educators from around the world will join CDE faculty members Dr. Martha Cleveland-Innes and Dr. Nathaniel Ostashewski to explore the use of technology in teaching and learning. Participants will get hands-on experience with a variety of tools as well as foundational knowledge about how to effectively use technology in their teaching practice. According to Dr. Cleveland-Innes, the course aims to give participants “a sense of what it’s like to be a virtual student – to engage with other people, to respond to the teacher, to do the assignments using the technology themselves.”

In a world where technology is increasingly ubiquitous, Dr. Cleveland-Innes sees education as being among the sectors “slowest to change.” But this course is not simply “buttonology”: teachers should understand not just how to use specific tools but also why they might want to deploy certain technologies in their practice. Dr. Ostashewski underscored the need to put students first by considering what specific problems technology can solve. Dr. Cleveland-Innes says that with “foundational knowledge about appropriate developmental pathways, about pedagogical use, … the technology itself becomes just the prop and the implement for making sure that good engagement and effort is realized on the part of the students.”

Free of charge and available to everyone, TEL-MOOC puts accessibility first. The course will be delivered on the innovative mooKit platform developed by the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. This platform allows learners to get beyond the limitations of low bandwidth by providing several content delivery options tailored to their specific need and circumstance. For example, if a learner’s internet connection is too frail to stream video, they can stream audio separately while viewing slides, receive a call to listen to the audio only, or even have a transcript texted to their cell phone.

Dr. Cleveland-Innes sees this MOOC as part of a larger trend of education innovation: “I suggest that in 20 years we will have a less elitist, much more accessible, affordable and cost-effective education that imbeds in everything you do as a learner something about learning itself.”

MOOC details
Introduction to Technology-Enabled Learning
January 9 – February 10, 2017
Cost: free
Register now at

Updated December 08 2017 by CDE

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