In 2019, The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations created a Research4Life online course called the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) as a pilot program to support Research4Life’s continued goal of equipping existing and potential users of the available programmes with the knowledge and skills required to access and use the information effectively and efficiently. FAO and Elsevier funded the pilot program.
The first MOOC entitled Research4Life Online Training Tools to develop capacities in information use, scholarly communication, and information management in the low-income and the least developed countries included case studies and examples from all the five Research4Life programmes including AGORA, Hinari, OARE, GOALI and ARDI. The pilot program was able to contribute to the development of skills and competences in access to scientific resources for low-income countries.
While 2,207 people enrolled in the course from 95 countries, the amount of new registrations for Research4Life during the duration of the course indicates the high impact of the course. There were 27 new registrations from the participating countries including Benin, Bhutan, Cameroon, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.
The pilot program edition of the Research4Life MOOC ran from 11 November to 15 December, 2019. The Research4Life MOOC followed a modular structure, which allowed participants to study their area of interest throughout a five-week period. The course covered topics relevant across all Research4Life programmes, such as the scholarly communication landscape, information literacy skills, advocacy and capacity development strategies. Many participants shared insight and success stories from their experiences:
“That was an eye opener to me. I used to hear my colleagues mention words like - Bibliometrics, Scopus, Dimensions, Clinical Key. I would wonder which world are they coming from. With some google search then, I knew it was about literature research and referencing but missed to grasp the whole concept. I now have a clearer concept of this hidden world of academia. Thanks to Research for Life for this opportunity. In my position as a Managing Director of a Medical Training College, you should see some advocacy and marketing activities for Hinari and related resources.”
Reuben Waswa Nabie, Kenya
“This is my first online course and I enjoyed learning about the R4L portals. We use Hinari and have access to AGORA, ARDI, GOALI and OARE. This course gave me the opportunity to learn about the other portals, so I decided to do the quizzes and exams for all of them. I have learned a lot and am very glad that I registered for this course. A big thank you to Ilkay and the team for organizing this course.”
Dillie George, Papua New Guinea
The organizers learned lessons and received feedback from participants, as well as from the Research4Life Capacity Development Subcommittee, which will help to build and deliver even better courses in the future. The pilot program was an overall success, giving the opportunity to move forward with more online courses, along with the ability to train the trainers to strengthen the local impact by building on the initial experience. More information about the next MOOC in 2020 will be available soon. For more information contact [email protected] or visit AIMS.