General Awareness

MOOC: A new way of learning

What is MOOC?

Providing free online courses available for anyone to enroll, MOOCs is described as an “affordable and flexible way to learn new skills, advance career and deliver quality educational experiences at scale”.

While traditional courses charge tuition, carry credit and limit enrollment to a few dozen to ensure interaction with instructors, the MOOC on the other hand, “is usually free, credit-less and, well, massive,” defined an article in The New York Times which christened 2012 as the ‘Year of MOOC.’

MOOC in brief

MOOCs have been around for a few years as collaborative techie learning events, but this is the year everyone wants in, the article said adding that elite universities are partnering with such provider with a furious pace. The Khan Academy record short video lectures on “everything from embryonic stem cells” to “hedge funds and venture capital” were an early precursor to the course.

According to a recent report by Google along with KPMG, with the growing smartphones penetration and increasing data speed, the Indian online education sector is likely to grow eightfold to become $1.96 billion industry by 2021. Based on the growing acceptance by learners as well as employers, we believe that online learning will soon be at par with traditional means of education.

How do MOOCs works?

Think of it like an online platform where students and teachers come together and form an online pool of resources, which are readily available for you to utilize. You have the option of listening to lectures, downloading notes, contributing your own, and most importantly, sharing your point of view by communicating with your peers. Networking makes the process seem like a virtual online classroom.

List of MOOC providers:

  • NPTEL (India): Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) offer online courses through this platform which require no registration and are free of cost.
  • WizIQ (India and USA): IIT Delhi, India offers this course through this platform which requires registration and fees to study courses offered by them.
  • Open2Study: The headquarters of this platform for online courses is based out of Australia.
  • Coursera: The headquarters of this platform for online courses is based out of USA.
  • edX: The headquarters of this platform for online courses is based out of USA.
  • udemy: The headquarters of this platform for online courses is based out of USA.

MOOC program of India

The University Grants Commission (UGC) along with the HRD (Human Resource Development) Ministry has launched the MOOC program in India for higher secondary, bachelors and masters degrees. A new portal for MOOCs named ‘Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds’, in short, SWAYAM, is said to present students with an opportunity to study anything from a list of 2000 courses out of which 200 are currently available for registration. Audio-visual medium, illustrations, research and case studies with self-assessment are few of the mediums chosen to approach the study of these courses.

In a nutshell, MOOCs are a great platform for higher education not just in India but all over the world but it comes with its pros and cons when it comes down to the future prospects of students that have passed out of MOOCs. Since the concept is new and has garnered praise recently, it can turn out to be one of the best concepts off late.

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