Face-to-face mentoring sessions in Mauritius complement MOOC on Blockchains

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The ‘Blockchain for Managers: Introduction and Applications’ MOOC bolstered its online learning experience with in-person mentoring sessions held from 20 to 24 May 2019 in Mauritius. Lead faculty worked with learners from government services and academia on interactive exercises that included problem-solving and group work.

Citizens of Mauritius make up a sizeable proportion of learners enrolled in the MOOC. COL facilitated the sessions at the request of the Ministry of Education. Seventy-five people participated, with the majority coming from the Ministry of Education, as well as some from the Ministry of Finance. A group of university faculty also joined the sessions.

Having offered over 25 MOOCs to more than 50,000 learners, COL is a pioneer of the ‘MOOCs for Development’ approach. The MOOC on Blockchains is currently underway and focuses on this key emerging technology that is highly relevant to education and training. The course is being led by Professor Prabhakar, COL Chair at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur. Dr Ricaud Auckbur, Director of e-Learning in the Ministry of Education, served as the principal contact and coordinated the sessions. The MOOC delivery, as well as the on-site mentoring sessions, were facilitated by Dr V Balaji, Vice President, COL.

The in-person sessions served as an innovative way to incorporate the power and quality of face-to-face interactions into scalable online learning. Participants engaged in group activities to help them understand when the Blockchain technology is required in a particular line of work. Professor Prabhakar said that the sessions were highly satisfying because “So many people now are clear about where this technology is not really required.”

Dr Auckbur appreciated the expertise and mentoring style of Professor Prabhakar and thanked COL for facilitating this mission. He said, “We believe that these MOOCs, through the MOOC4 Dev platform, are an important way of expanding e-education and training, with Blockchain having been one important area given the national priorities in capacity building of our human resources. We are informing our local institutions to participate in these open training platforms and also to come up with their own MOOCs, with the MOOKIT as an interesting existing platform.”

The Minister of Education met the visiting faculty and thanked the COL President and CEO Professor Asha Kanwar for facilitating the programme. In addition, the Open University of Mauritius organised a well-attended public lecture by Professor Prabhakar which was chaired by Professor Kaviraj Sukon, Director General.

Photo courtesy of Professor Prabhakar

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