Proceedings of the 2018 Learning with MOOCs Conference

September 2018

Participation of the Arab World in MOOCs

José A. Ruipérez-Valiente, Justin Reich


One of the original purposes of MOOCs is to democratize education worldwide in order to advance towards a fairer society and universal human development. However, initial findings suggest that there are a number of challenges that MOOCs face to achieve their maximum potential in developing countries and regions with complex issues of access to high quality education. The majority of studies on MOOCs focus on one or a small number of courses, or an overview of an entire platform or system, such as edX or FutureLearn. However, these kinds of investigations can mask important regional variation in different parts of the world. In this study we conduct a longitudinal analysis using data from six years of courses from MITx and HarvardX, focusing on the particular Arab world sub-population, and comparing to the rest of the world and also on their human development index. A close investigation of this subpopulation will help us better understand what kinds of course registration and course-taking patterns are influenced by regional cultural factors, and what dimensions of MOOC learning are more universal. In this work we present initial results after conducting exploratory analysis on 452 MOOCs (~4.5M unique learners) from MITx and HarvardX, which show that despite the important cultural and geographical contrasts, the general trends are quite similar. Still, we observe some significant differences, such as lower completion metrics for Arabic countries when performing this comparison within each human development category and also some differences in percentage of enrolments per course category.


Ruipérez-Valiente, José A. & Reich, Justin. (2018). Participation of the Arab World in MOOCs. 47-50. 10.1109/LWMOOCS.2018.8534650.

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