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Free OU course for teacher educators in Africa wins international award for digital innovation

A free four-week online course designed by Open University education academics and presented on FutureLearn, has won a ‘Digital Innovation of the Year’ award at the prestigious PIEoneer Awards 2018.

The MOOC (Massive, Online, Open Course), Making Teacher Education Relevant for 21st Century Africa, was selected as the winner by the judges in the Digital Innovation (Learning) category.

The course is designed to help African teacher educators integrate the use of Open Educational Resources (OER), active learning and ICT in the classroom, helping to address the urgent need for greater professional development to improve teacher training in the region.

MOOC students in the classroom

Teacher educators at the PRCC Eastern Lundazi, Zambia, working on Week 3 of the MOOC

So far, the course has attracted over 2,000 learners from around the globe, of which 1,600 were in thirty countries across Africa. For many learners, this was the first time they had engaged with online learning and experienced new teaching approaches.

The MOOC was delivered under The Open University’s Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa (TESSA) programme, currently funded by the Allan and Nesta Ferguson Trust and OU Alumni, which has been supporting advances in teacher training through partnerships with institutions in ten African countries since 2005.

The combination of the OU’s signature blended learning approach, combined with face-to-face and WhatsApp support provided by TESSA partners in Africa, enabled the course to deliver high quality content through a global learning event that reached previously unreached audiences.

The project worked with FutureLearn to develop a ‘sponsored MOOC’ model, which enabled learners to obtain a professional certificate on completion of the course.

Kris Stutchbury, Academic Director of TESSA, said:

“We are delighted that this work, which is reaching thousands of teacher educators across Africa, has been recognised by this year’s PIEoneer Awards. The MOOC draws on our expertise in online teacher education, developed across many projects, and we are very grateful to our colleagues in the TESSA network who had the courage to try something new, and encouraged others to join them.”

For more information please contact the TESSA programme team or The Open University’s International Development Office. 

About Author

Liz works in the Media Relations team within the Communications Unit at The Open University. She has over 15 years' marketing experience working across a range of sectors, from diamonds to shampoo. She has a BSc (Hons) in Management from UMIST. In her spare time, Liz is usually found on roller skates or off travelling, having adventures.

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