Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are a currently trending e-learning platform that presumably attract thousands of participants because of boundless participation, are open to any person to enroll, are free to begin and are delivered completely online, thus contradicting the spatial limitations of a traditional classroom. This study aims to present the findings of a study among veterinary science students examining their perceptions of MOOCs. In total, 200 participants were randomly selected for the survey, out of which 177 responded, owing to a response rate of 88.7 per cent. Majority of the respondents (93 per cent) opined MOOCs supplement other learning methods and provide lifelong opportunity. A study report established that Coursera is the largest platform by user base (82 per cent), followed by Udemy (70 per cent), and 65 per cent knowledge seekers ranted the enormous propaganda about MOOCs are not because of the technology’s inherent edifying value, but because of the incredible potentials of lower costs. The participants in this survey valued their course and overall MOOC experience pleasing.
The aim of the study is to explore veterinary students’ perception of MOOCs featuring in their subject of interest. The questionnaire was written in English because it is the teaching language for undergraduates and postgraduates in most Indian higher education institutes, including the one used as a context for this study. The online questionnaires were electronically mailed to a sample of veterinary students (undergraduate and postgraduate) with a consent form seeking their permission for participation in this study and swearing them the confidentiality of their responses. The e-mail included information about the purpose of the study as well as the URL to the survey site, demographic questions on age, gender and education. This part was followed by an important research question asking if the student had heard about the new open online educational system (MOOCs) provided in websites, including Coursera, Edx, Udacity and FutureLearn, among others. Based on respondents’ answers, they were directed to different sections. Students who knew about MOOCs were asked various mode of getting enrolled in MOOCs. If they were not enrolled in any course, the respondents were asked about the limitations to their use. Enrolled students were questioned on their perspectives and experiences with MOOCs. For students who gained certificates, were enquired for their level of satisfaction, opinions about the integration of MOOCs into the veterinary field and hindrances encountered during accessing the course. Out of a total of 200 students who initially agreed to take part, 177 responses were received, with a response rate of 88.50 per cent, with no cases of missing data. The data were stored automatically in the hosted online survey service into a separate database after the submission of the responses. The descriptive data analyses (such as average) were led using the data analysis tool provided.
Even though most MOOCs do not provide academic credit or result in a degree, some of the biggest beneficiaries of MOOCs are students formally enrolled in an academic program, are provided a free mode to obtain additional academic assistance that would not otherwise be available (Parke Muth, 2018)15. Correspondingly, 93 per cent of the students opined MOOCs supplement other learning methods and provide lifelong opportunity. Learning has traditionally cost both money and time. With MOOCs, it now just costs time. In total, 24 per cent of the participants have discoursed free of cost as one of the intentions to choose their course. Almost every respondent (99 per cent) was interested toward online discussion forum, and 91 per cent preferred course materials containing video and audio files were pretty beneficial, while 88 per cent felt teaching through electronic whiteboard was the most advantageous criterion in their course. The study findings indicated that Coursera is the largest platform by user base (82 per cent), followed by Udemy (70 per cent).
The study considered veterinary science undergraduate (BVSc) and postgraduate (MVSc) students alone, veterinary faculties are not included for the survey. There was comparatively less participation of respondents who enrolled or successfully completed a MOOC, which makes the analysis of limitations and satisfaction less reliable. Hence, the study results cannot be generalized as a comprehensive report of veterinary science scholars’ perceptiveness.
Animal health involves household pets and their care, in addition to livestock health and protection from diseases like bovine babesiosis, bovine tuberculosis and heartwater. There are numerous MOOCs offering online, contact or blended interventions in veterinary science and animal health that afford professionals quick and easy options to obtain credentials, including courses in pharmacology and toxicology, practice management, veterinary and para-veterinary studies, veterinary tropical diseases, radiology and wildlife management. As it is necessary to gain an understanding of the veterinary students’ level of familiarity and their insight toward the MOOC concept, the study attempts to explore their knowledge through an online survey.
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