The efforts ensures greater outreach for FIFA World Cup 2022 legacy programme
When Josoor Institute launched in December 2013, it set out with the purpose of building the capabilities of the sports and events industries in Qatar and the MENA region. Through education, training, and research, Josoor Institute has worked with thousands of students and trainees in the region as part of a robust legacy programme of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC).
A substantial part of Josoor Institute’s programming is now online and includes ‘Sustainability and Major Sports Events’, a massive open online course (MOOC) it delivers with Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) on HBKUx, an online learning platform powered by EdX, a non-profit online learning platform created by Harvard and MIT.
Launched last year, the MOOC has been taken by hundreds of students from around the world, with a certificate being granted to those that successfully complete two courses, one on planning and the other on implementation.
The ‘Sustainability and Major Sports Events’ MOOC is now in its second edition and explores sustainability within the context of major sport events, giving students a chance to learn more and discuss action plans to deliver long-term impact after a large tournament is held.
Afraa Al Noaimi, Executive Director of Josoor Institute, discusses the future of online education within the context of creating a centre of excellence in the sports and events industries.
Where did the idea to create a MOOC around sustainability and the FIFA World Cup™ come from?.
The idea to create a MOOC on Sustainability came from Dr Gerard Akindes, the former head of the research arm of Josoor Institute, who realized the huge potential of sharing the SC’s wealth of knowledge and expertise in sustainability with a large audience.
We and colleagues at the SC discussed Gerard’s idea and agreed we had an unmissable opportunity to divulge interesting information to a large audience, and expand our professional network around the subject matter as the FIFA World Cup 2022 draws nearer and best practices and innovation emerge.
What has been Josoor Institute’s role in putting this first of its kind initiative with HBKU together?
At the Institute, we assembled a group of subject matter experts from the SC, FIFA, Q22 (the joint venture between SC and FIFA), and approached HBKU as a partner because of their shared vision and their expertise in creating a robust online educational platform.
Once all parties were aligned, JI coordinated the kick-off of the project and managed the project throughout the delivery, reviewing content, working with the instructional design providers to organize video shoots, coordinate access to facilities (including stadiums), and promote the project through social media and other channels.
How important is it to have partners like HBKU and edX on board?
As the education and training arm of the SC, JI has the opportunity to take the lead on strategic projects such as this MOOC on sustainability, as well as the responsibility to assemble and coordinate the resources that are needed to make sure the delivery is first-in-class. To that end, partnering with HBKU is strategic.
HBKUx, the online platform of HBKU powered by edX, guarantees a high quality of delivery. But also more generally and equally important, a strong alignment in vision, mission and goals makes it natural for Josoor Institute and its team to explore strategic collaborations with colleagues at HBKU.
How many people have benefited thus far from the initiative?
About 900 people enrolled in the first edition of the MOOC. Of these, 70 got the certificate, meaning they not only got to the end of the course but also completed the certification exam. The ratio between enrollments and certifications was in line with global MOOC standards.
For this second edition of the MOOC, we hope to attract a larger and even more diverse audience, especially from the MENA region, which remains a priority for us. At the same time, we believe that linking this topic with FIFA World Cup makes this kind of MOOC highly appealing to a global audience.
What are some of the long last legacy impacts that this type of programme will have on Qatar and beyond?
Usually, people take a MOOC either because they are interested – or just curious – about a particular topic or a particular domain, or because they aim at getting certified in that domain as a way to step up their qualifications and increase their chances of finding a job or enhancing their current role and so on.
Beyond that, a MOOC that specifically focuses on sustainability will have an impact on Qatar and the region in several ways. Firstly, it raises awareness about the importance of delivering sustainable major sports events.
Secondly, it offers students and professionals an unprecedented experience to learn about sustainability within the context of a FIFA World Cup™, one of the largest sporting events in the world – being held in this part of the world for the first time – and with so much innovation and national coordination at all levels.
Thirdly, sharing lessons taught in sustainability from the tournament will get factored into future projects in sports and events in Qatar, the MENA region, and beyond in the coming decades.
What are some of the next steps for this programme?
We are now in the promotion phase of the MOOC. In the long term, we look forward to connecting with the most active participants to facilitate connections and collaborations.
The ultimate goal of this kind of projects is to generate a network of people, content and platforms to enhance knowledge and human capital, ultimately generating value in a particular domain.
From a strategic standpoint, because education is a countercyclical sector, the current challenging economic situation created by the global pandemic may incentivize even more people to enrol in this MOOC and other online activities.
As everyone adapts to the situation and the current uncertainties, distance learning is a powerful tool.
Moving forward, we will see a greater number of Josoor Institute programmes shift online?
First and foremost, our priority is to guarantee the continuity of our current educational offering, namely the online professional diploma programme in sports and events management in partnership with SDA Bocconi School of Management.
In general, Josoor Institute is strategically pursuing online education. The second MOOC in Sustainability is an example, along with online training for Volunteers in the run up to the FIFA World Cup, and a regular series of online panels developed in partnership with colleagues at Generation Amazing, the SC Sustainability team, University Campus of Football Business (UFCB) and others.
We are also making all research case studies by Josoor Institute available online, free of charge, hopefully soon in Arabic as well, which is something of utmost importance for us as we reach out to new audiences across the MENA region.
Over the coming months, we will also be announcing new online offerings in education and training, some of which are in the areas of sports and event management, but also in others in areas previously unexplored by Josoor Institute.