This paper explores whether Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are likely to have an empowering effect on access to education for women and the underserved in Asia. During the 2015 World Education Forum in Incheon, Korea, participants recommended increase funding for equitable access to basic and continuing education for all. MOOCs have been a recent phenomenon in providing large-scale interactive participation and open access to courses online. Depending upon internet availability in some countries in Asia and familiarity with digital learning practices, this alternative could provide education for many people. Using the empowerment theory as a comparative education framework, this paper reviews literature on the origins of MOOCs as well as the benefits and challenges of MOOCs in adult education. Using qualitative content analysis, this paper also examines literature (2010-2019) on recent research involving MOOCs and its implications in providing access to education for females and the underserved in Asia. This paper also provides recommendations for future research for education organizations to enable MOOCS to provide additional opportunities for life-long skills for people in the Majority World.
R. Pam Barger, Chiang Mai University, Thailand