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Road to online education

Wednesday, 01 January 2014 | Sangeeta Yadav

The much criticised Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) learning has revolutionised the  education sector and the system is going to grow manifold in 2014. Sangeeta Yadav tells you how MOOC has been the biggest gainer in 2013 with as many as one billion users

Around one billion people across the world are connected and have been learning through the MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) platforms that consists of  1,000 interesting courses from the top universities and institutes like Harvard and MIT. MOOC which was introduced in 2011 saw a great hype in India since 2012, where people from across all the backgrounds, be it unemployed or employed, Class XII pass or a degree graduate, enrolled themselves and got the privilege to study courses which are not available in India.

MOOC platforms like Edx, Coursera, Udacity, Edukart, Futur learning are some of the platforms that have tied-up with the universities to make education available for all and affordable for them too. All it requires is an internet connection to enroll for a course,  video conferencing with the professor, get connected to your peer group of the same course and discuss issues.

“MOOC is the biggest revolutionary change in the present education scenario.  Irrespective of geographical and economical barriers, people can pursue their interest of course offered by the best of universities in the world. Almost all the courses are free of cost but some are chargeable for tutoring and assessment tests. Students can interact with the teachers and students of the course and discuss their views and problems. Thus it provides a complete blend of learning,” says Chetan Mahajan, head, HCL Learnings.

Courses like Biology and Life Sciences, Business and Management, Computer Science, Economics and Finance, Education, Electrical and Materials Engineering, Food and Nutrition, Health and Society and Media Ethics, History, Humanities, Information technology and Design, Law,  Mathematics, Medicine, Music, Film a — you name it and its all there.

When we talk about MOOC platforms like Coursera, Edukart, Futurelearn, Udacity and edX etc, all of them are different and have something to offer for everyone. From different courses in varied language, different teaching and learning modules, deadline for the completion of the course, assessment etc MOOC has something for all. In Coursera, a certificate is provided which includes secure assessments, employee recruitment, applicant screening, human tutoring or assignment marking etc.

The enterprise pays to run their own training courses and also includes sponsorships and tuition fees. Udacity also provides certification. Employers pay to recruit talented students. Student resumes and job match services are also there. There are sponsored high-tech skills courses. Edukart is a franchise network and the courses fees are taken directly from enrolled students. There are companies who pay for employees’ training and colleges paying for students training.

MOOC is gaining importance at offices and colleges. Where professors are constantly encouraging their employees and students to undergo MOOC courses that will not only enhance their skills and training but will also provide them with an opportunity to reach their maximum potential in the workplace and progress in life.

“A lot of things can be done to fully utilise the MOOC profitably. People can register for courses related to their work and are offered by renowned universities for continued learning. Corporates and colleges have tied up with the university to sponsor a course that is relevant to their employees. Certification holds a lot of value at the work field,” Rakshit Kejriwal, co-founder of Smarton Learning solutions tells you.

“Education systems have become very complex with the regulatory regime, infrastructure requirements, class schedules etc., hence, it can’t serve the purpose of a learner who wants to learn a specific skill in a certain time frame. MOOC presents an educational structure that is primarily about learning, and not degree or certification. For example, Sunstone MOOC has seen many housewives joining the courses to enhance their skills, government employees learning business skills, engineers learning basic finance, so on and so forth.

With growing numbers every day, the community of learners is getting stronger and it is running parallel to the existing education systems,” says Rajul Garg, director, Sunstone Business School which also runs MOOC open courses in management and has enrolled more than 15,000 professionals in 2013. 

Around 50 per cent of the enrollment are done from smaller cities and towns. Though MOOC is a boon to empower people to be aware and get educated at any age and time, but there are certain challenges one must be aware of while pursuing MOOC.

A recent report by the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education revealed that out of the 1 million MOOC enrollees, on average only half of those who registered for a course ever viewed a lecture, and only about 4 percent completed the courses. Another challenge is time difference for video seminars or conference with the professor. “Sometimes, people couldn’t complete the course on time and they have to start from the scratch. If students don’t put in right effort and get proper guidelines, they will not see results. The video conferencing timings is another challenge,” Ragini Vasishtha, a PR executive at 2020msl tells you.

 
 
 

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