Delivering WASH education at scale: evidence from a global MOOC series

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  • FabianSuter
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Delivering WASH education at scale: evidence from a global MOOC series

In this case study article, we provide insights into our MOOC-series on “Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development”, which has reached over 150’000 learners – mainly young, well-educated students and professionals from Asia, Latin America and Africa. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247820987759

The article is open access and now available as online first. It will be published in the April 2021 issue «Education and learning for inclusive development» in Environment & Urbanization, which will hopefully feature many interesting articles for Susana WG1 members. 

Your comments and ideas related to MOOCs and digital learning would be most welcome.

Best regards, Fabian


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Delivering WASH education at scale: evidence from a global MOOC series

Fabian Suter, Christoph Lüthi

Abstract
The water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector is facing a shortfall of several million appropriately skilled professionals. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) can play a crucial role in addressing this. This paper presents the case study of the MOOC series “Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development”, which has reached over 120,000 learners within six years. It has attracted mainly well-educated, employed learners, under 34 years old, from Asia, Latin America and Africa. Underrepresentation of female learners remains a challenge. While MOOCs have proven excellent for delivering WASH education at scale, some alternative formats (e.g. blended learning, small private online courses) allow more collaborative, interactive learning environments. Three practical examples from Nigeria, Indonesia and Mozambique indicate the potential for synergies among MOOCs and further learning formats. With the global shift towards digital learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MOOCs have gained further traction.
Fabian Suter
Digital learning manager
Sandec /Eawag
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  • Chaiwe
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  • Independent consultant (strategic planning, project management and M&E in WASH, climate action and, gender and HIV) and Part-time Solid Waste Management Lecturer at the University of Zambia.
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Re: Delivering WASH education at scale: evidence from a global MOOC series

Dear Fabian, 

Thank you for the insights on the MOOC series on “Sanitation, Water and Solid Waste for Development”. Undeniably MOOCs enhance capacities in the water sector. It is especially great that the series is accessible to young  WASH professionals and students at a global scale and the demand is growing due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

As highlighted in the article, massive open online courses have continued overtime to provide learners with high-quality education. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have attracted tens of millions of learners around the world, implying that anyone with an Internet connection is able to access them freely. The introduction of the MOOCs in the educational landscape, with the hope of offering free access to higher learning opportunities to everyone is a progressive step for sector's capacity development needs. This changes the narrative in closing the capacity gap in the WASH sector. On the other hand concerns specifically on whether the scalable format of the MOOCs is able to bridge the equity gap as evidenced in the under participation of women in the sector and professionals with limited access to technology and connectivity. Has can we  overcome this?  

Regards,
Chaiwe
SuSanA Forum Moderator
(With financial support from WSSCC (now SHF))

Chaiwe Mushauko-Sanderse BSc. NRM, MPH
Independent consultant located in Lusaka, Zambia
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LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/chaiwe-mushauko-sanderse-21709129/
Twitter: @ChaiweSanderse

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