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Episode #87. Saturday December 18, 2021, 11:30 pm Eastern

Abstract: How can MOOCs reach learners in areas where Internet bandwidth is limited? How can teachers in developing countries, with minimal familiarity with online learning, participate in design and delivery of MOOCs? In their session, Venkataraman and Prabhakar explore these concerns and show that the way forward is through learning delivery innovations. They will discuss a series of case studies involving MOOCs in food and agriculture in India and parts of Africa using MobiMOOC technology as the platform. As a sector that is among the least influenced by online learning, there is much potential for MOOCs in agriculture. Most students and faculty in agricultural universities in the developing world live and work in situations of inadequate bandwidth. In response, the authors present their results and insights from experiences with 16 MOOCs in agriculture. Their findings reveal that innovative deployment of messaging systems and opportunities to access content offline can increase engagement in the learning process. This project is sponsored by the Commonwealth of Learning ( in Burnaby, BC, Canada. Our guest today are

  • Balaji Venkataraman, Director for Technology and Knowledge Management, Commonwealth of Learning, Burnaby, BC, Canada
  • Tadinada V. Prabhakar, Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK), India\

More about them below the video


Balaji Venkataraman is Balaji Venkataraman, Vice President, Commonwealth of Learning, Burnaby, BC, Canada. He is a worker in the area of IT applied to agricultural development and learning. His current interests are in deploying new generation mobile devices in rural learning and in examining the advantages of MOOCs in support of skill development. Balaji received his master’s and doctoral degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology and the University of Madras. He can be reached at

Tadinada V. Prabhakar (TVP) has a PhD in Computer Science from IIT Kanpur and has been teaching there since 1986. His research interests are in the areas of software architecture (which is about building large scale software), knowledge management, and Indian language computing. Suffice to say, he loves to build software systems. Currently, TVP is working in the field of online education where he has built a MOOC Management System called mooKIT with several innovative features for developing countries. To date, the mooKIT has been used in more than 60 courses. His other area of interest is in ICT in agriculture where he built systems like Agropedia, AgroTagger, and Agriculture Advisory delivery systems. He is currently running an initiative called AgMOOCs which has delivered 16 MOOCs in Agriculture. He can be reached at