The Massive Open Online Varsity (MOOV) is breaking down barriers that restrict post-school education to relatively small numbers, and bringing hope and employability skills to thousands of unemployed young people. This topic was explored by the Maths and Science CoP at its meeting on 30th August.
Developed by Rael Lissoos－a social entrepreneur with extensive experience in using technology to deliver educational material－and implemented with funding and support from the City of Johannesburg, MOOV gives young people access to free, high quality open source educational material from around the world and provides them with a conducive environment to engage with said material.
MOOV has opened 9 centres and registered 7000 students in just 9 months. Established at public libraries across the city (in Alexandra, Jabavu, Emndeni, Westbury, Orange Farm, Johannesburg CBD, Sandton, Ivory Park and Diepsloot), each centre accommodates 50 students at a time and is staffed by facilitators who are themselves graduates of MOOV.
MOOV is open to all. It does however, have a system of phases that act as a filter. All students begin with Phase 1 which is centred on basic web design and focused on exposing students to the digital world and building their confidence. Phase 2 gives students a basis for employability. Two streams are offered: Information technology (coding) and Business (finance, marketing and behavioural economics), and MOOV’s flexible approach enables students to discover and develop their interests. Students who progress to Phase 3 choose from the many courses offered by the best universities in the world.
Assessment forms an integral component of the online courses, and certificates are issued by the accrediting institutions. Significant numbers of MOOV graduates have found employment, or set up their own web design businesses.
MOOV also has other interesting developments in the pipeline: it is currently creating resources that address matric level knowledge requirements, including a system of pre- and post-testing to identify gaps, provide bridging material and assess success in filling the gaps.
MOOV has underscored the need to provide realistic alternative pathways in education and has shown that young people are able to take responsibility for their own learning if given the tools. Advances in technology mean that there are now many more ways of approaching the problems in education.