Egyptian E-Learning University

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EELU Learn4All Initiative


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Introduction

In the framework of non-formal education, Egyptian E-Learning University (EELU) launched a huge project that aims to provide learning opportunities to all people with no restriction, no entry requirements and totally free. This project launched under the name LEARN4ALL Initiative which implies the message of providing learning opportunities for everyone. The project follows a new trend in education accessibility called MOOCs which stands for Massive Open Online Courses. Moocs could be described as a group of educational resources combined together based on specific domains or syllabi. The Mooc is delivered to largest possible number of learners distantly via ICT tools. It mainly depends on person's motivation to learn, commitment and self evaluation competencies. The Mooc provide self assessment tools for learners to test and observe their own progress, it also depends on peer to peer learning as a lot of collaborative activities take place within the group of learners.

AIMS

• Initiate an open learning portal that provides learning opportunities for all with no restrictions or entry requirements in different fields of science and arts.

• Disseminate the culture of using e-learning and utilising ICT in education.

• Provide a learning context that enable learners acquire and practice ICT skills.

• Establishing self-paced learning approach in Egyptian education.

• Provide context to help learners to become self-independent learners.

• Build, implement and maintain an Egyptian repository of open education resources where educational institutions collaborate and cooperate to design, develop, evaluate, use, reuse, exchange and share learning objects and resources.

Why ?

• The Increasing demand on higher education and professional development programs in Egypt necessitate a wider expansion in quality continuing higher education and non-formal education programs. Providing these programs on quality bases with some sort of certification will be of great importance, especially if we know there is a reluctance in Egypt towards non- formal education programs.

• Most people in my country Egypt recognize ICT as an entertainment tool rather than both entertainment and knowledge management and exchange tool. This made e-learning a suspicious learning method for them, they are not yet convinced that it is a valid and efficient learning approach. They think that learning should only take place in the classroom through direct face to face interaction. This situation need to be considered, and the culture of online learning should be clarified and disseminated.

• Extending the previous point, the learner who uses ICT in learning acquires two types of knowledge. S/He acquires primarily the specific knowledge and skills related to the subject-matter content of the course signed-in for, plus a secondary knowledge and skills related to ICT use and utilization. To this, e-learner receives more knowledge and skills compared to traditional learner. This gives me personally a big boost of motivation to put endless efforts to implement and maintain this project, as I believe it might significantly improve ICT skills awareness and acquisition.

• For ages, Egypt educational system has been mainly depending on an indoctrination approach in education. It is a linear, less interactive, less exploratory and less creative approach, which led to a very complicated situation where learners at all levels are always waiting for somebody else to teach them, ignoring the simple principle that learning is self implemented process that must take place by the learner himself. I believe that this project will reorient learners toward constructive – learner centered approach where learners become independent self learners whom know how to learn.

• Despite that a lot of research which investigated MOOCs and found that it is more of funny approach to non-formal education rather than a reliable learning strategy, and the fact that there is a significant drop out rate in all of courses delivered at all institutions, MOOCs have proven an acceptable level of effectiveness in terms of giving more and more people the opportunity to access learning and at least navigate the surface of the deep sea of knowledge. Egypt needs this as we have high demands on learning opportunities and very limited – slowly growing rate of supply.

FURTHER INFORMATION

• MOOCs have been first introduced in 2008 by Stephen Downes (University of Athabasca) & George Siemens (University of Alberta)who offered an open course under the title "Connectivism and Connective Knowledge".

• The course was a breakthrough with more than 2300 subscribers from all over the world.

• This new phenomena urged researchers to investigate it more closely. After a lot of research Dave Cormier from Prince Edward University in Canada coined the Term MOOCS, which stands for "Massive Open Online Courses".

• The idea developed rapidly as of 2011, when Sebastian Thrun and other from Stanford University offered an Open Course on Artificial Intelligence. The course subscribers reached 160.000 from 190 countries all over the world in less than 4 weeks.

• Recent reports on MOOCS by Waldrop (2013) in Nature magazine stated that in less than two years (2011-2013), 328 MOOCs were offered through 62 educational subscribed by 2.9 million learners from over 220 countries.

• The philosophy of MOOCs is education accessibility with no restrictions what so ever.

• The MOOCs were massively offered through a lot of initiatives by several institutions, the most well known MOOCs providers are as follows:

o EDX is an initiative by MIT and Harvard University (USA) to provide MOOCs in all knowledge domains with a budget of 60 million USD (www.edx.org)

o Coursera, was introduced by Stanford University with a budget of 22 Million USD (www.coursera.org)

o Udacity, was established by Sebastian Thrun with a budget of 21 million USD (www.udacity.com)


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