Background: In recent years, massive open online courses (MOOCs) have steadily gained popularity. It appears, however, that MOOC learners are concentrated mostly in the affluent English-speaking countries. MOOCs’ free-of-cost, easy accessibility should make them obviously attractive to participants from low-and-middle-income countries (LMIC). The reason why LMIC enrollments in MOOCs are so low is therefore unclear. In the year 2014, the first MOOC was launched from Pakistan. We administered a survey to the enrollees of this MOOC to explore concerns, fears, and limitations that might be deterring the LMIC audience from participating in MOOCs.

Methods: The MOOC was a three-week course on bioinformatics that covered current concepts and techniques employed in the area of computer-based drug design. More than 230 participants enrolled for this course. At the end of the course, to examine the MOOC experience from their perspective, we invited the participants to take an online survey.

Results: Fifty-four participants, mostly from Pakistan, completed the survey. The participants reported satisfaction with the course, and felt that the course participation was an enriching experience. Although they appeared eager to explore MOOC learning, we found that the learners from LMICs may not be completely comfortable with various aspects of online learning.

Conclusion: Our results indicate that there is a definite market for MOOCs in LMICs. Computer accessibility and literacy must be enhanced in the LMICs to allow the citizens of these regions to feel comfortable with e-learning. Moreover, LMIC nations acknowledge their own unique learning cultures and experiences when they produce and share their MOOC offerings with the world.


Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), LMIC, Pakistan, Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Instructional Media Design, Structural Biology



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