MOUNTAIN VIEW, California – The leading provider of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), Coursera, has just teamed up with The World Bank to offer courses on development and poverty alleviation. The partnership, which is part of The World Bank’s new Open Learning Campus initiative, aims to give policymakers, practitioners, development partners, and the general public access to world-class learning on development strategies and challenges.
The World Bank offers e-learning through its e-institute in critical areas of development such as health, education, urban development, and climate change. It is now planning to scale up offerings through the campus and partnerships with regional and country-based institutions, via innovative delivery vehicles.
According to Abha Joshi-Ghani, director of Knowledge and Learning at The World Bank, the institution is in the process of developing the campus which will be formally launched in the second quarter of 2014. It will combine e-learning courses with South-South knowledge exchange, as well as traditional face-to-face methodologies. Meanwhile, Coursera works with 91 educational institutions across four continents, offering more than 450 free online college-level courses to 5 million students around the world.
As a result of this partnership, The World Bank will use the Coursera platform to conduct MOOCs on frontier development topics which will deliver technical knowledge and facilitate the exchange of skills among practitioners on how to deal with specific development challenges.
Ghani said that the Open Learning Campus will integrate innovations in technology and instructional design, such as open courseware, digitally enhanced collaborative learning, “gamification” (the use of game thinking and game mechanics to engage users in solving problems), and even mobile formatting to provide quality learning at a low cost.
Three “schools” within the campus include WBx, based on video talks and podcasts by experts and advocates; WBa, structured learning including F2F, facilitated e-courses, and bite-sized modules; and WBc, which will work with communities of practice, South-South knowledge exchange.
The first MOOC, “Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C warmer world must be avoided,” is focused on climate change and will start in January 2014. Future topics will focus on other pressing issues such as global health and sanitation.