Engaging India: a Bilingual MOOC

The Australian National University, Australia


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) aim to democratize education, making high quality education from top institutions available to all. There can be no dispute that the number of students accessing MOOCs is huge, and they come from all over the world. However, most MOOCs are offered in English, so exclude those who are most comfortable learning in another language.

One of the first MOOCs offered by the Australian National University (ANU) is Engaging India - a course which draws on the ANU's breadth and depth of research expertise in India studies. The Hindi expertise of the teaching staff offered a unique opportunity to stretch the boundaries of the MOOC experience by providing the course simultaneously in English and Hindi. Enrolment reports from many MOOCs show that India is one of the biggest sources of students outside of the USA, and it was hoped that the bilingual nature of the course would make it accessible to an even wider range of Indian students.

Engaging India is running for the first time from April to June 2014. Early enrolments indicate that nearly half of the students are in India. I will report on early findings about how the students have reacted to the course, in particular the effect of the bilingual setting. I will also take you through some of the technical and educational design challenges that arose in creating the course, and the solutions we have implemented.

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