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Professor Arinto (3rd from left, front row) with other participants in the Building a TPD@Scale Coalition for the Global South meeting held at the Open University of Hong Kong.

Professor Patricia Arinto, former Dean of the UP Open University Faculty of Education and currently the UP Faculty Regent, discussed the challenges of adopting online learning in the form of MOOCs (massive, open online courses) in the Global South at an international meeting to establish a Teacher Professional Development at Scale (TPD@Scale) Coalition held on 17-19 January 2018 at the Education University of Hong Kong.

Thirty-three representatives of development agencies, donors, ministries of education, universities, and research and policy centers participated in the meeting, which was organized by Digital Learning for Development (DL4D), a project co-funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and managed by the Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development (FIT-ED) of the Philippines.

In her presentation Professor Arinto shared insights on using MOOCs for teacher professional development (TPD) in developing country contexts based on a review of MOOC initiatives in Southeast Asia and research on what makes for effective TPD. She cited low participation rates, poor IT infrastructure and lack of access to digital technologies for learning, a top-down approach to curriculum development vis-à-vis the diversity of learner characteristics and learning contexts, and inadequate learner support and assessment in MOOCs as key challenges that need to be addressed, and proposed a “context-specific, bottom-up approach to TPD design and development, recognising differences in TPD needs (in terms of form and scale), available technologies, competencies, cultures, etc.

The three-day meeting resulted in the building of a coalition working to provide equitable access to quality professional development for all teachers in the Global South, through research and development, policy advocacy and support, and knowledge-sharing on innovative TPD@Scale models.