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ERIC Number: ED566982
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 18
MOOCs Feasibility Study: Demand among Teachers in Rural Ghana
Johnston, Jamie
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are a relatively new, low-cost resource that hold potential for improving learning in developing nations where resources are constrained and teacher expertise can be limited. However, little information currently exists about the effectiveness of leveraging MOOCs as a vehicle for teacher training. The aim of this study is to learn more about the awareness, interest and ability to access MOOCs among junior high and high school teachers in rural Ghana. Specifically, the author addresses the following questions: (1) What is the take-up following a light informational intervention nudging math teachers to enroll in a MOOC related to math education?; (2) What is the demand among school leaders, specifically headmasters, for MOOCs as a vehicle for teacher training?; (3) Can headmasters influence the decision of teachers to enroll in a MOOC course?; (4) What are the reasons teachers do or do not enroll and/or complete a MOOC course?; and (5) How does take-up differ by teacher and headmaster characteristics? The current study builds on a larger randomized study examining the long-run returns to secondary schooling in rural Ghana, through which detailed student- and school-level data were collected at 242 junior and senior high schools in five districts in Southern Ghana. To learn more about whether MOOCs could serve as a means to train teachers in this type of setting, mathematics teachers at the junior and senior high schools attended by students in the randomized study were recruited for participation in this study. The participants of the study include mathematics teachers (N = 543) and headmasters (N = 242) at the 242 schools (112 junior high schools and 174 senior high schools). Junior high schools typically employ 1-2 mathematics teachers, thus all were recruited for a total of 174 junior high teachers (1.55 teachers per school, on average). Senior high schools in the sample employ 9.5 mathematics teachers on average. When visiting the 242 schools as part of the larger randomized study, the research team provided the 543 senior and junior high mathematics teachers with information on how to enroll in a 10 week MOOC focused on mathematical thinking and the application of mathematical tools for problem solving. Despite this very light intervention, and the fact that most teachers do not have a personal computer, let alone an internet connection at home, click-stream records show that 50 teachers (9.2 percent) of the sample enrolled in the MOOC, though only five teachers earned a certificate of completion. The initial enrollment rate, while not large, does demonstrate some interest and demand for online instruction among mathematics teachers. Furthermore, enrollment was higher at more prestigious senior high schools (ranked by the Ghana Education Service as category A or B schools). One possibility for this higher take-up is the availability of better computing infrastructure within these schools and/or in the localities of these schools. Overall, the headmaster intervention did not result in any greater enrollment among the treatment group.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Junior High Schools; Secondary Education; Middle Schools; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Location: Ghana