India’s Ambitious MOOC Platform “SWAYAM” Moves Ahead. But Will It Ever Launch?


In last month’s MOOCWatch we noted that MOOCs were gaining momentum in India with a number of different initiatives.

But SWAYAM, short for Study Webs of Active-learning for Young Aspiring Minds, was one of the first ones to be announced. Class Central was one of the first sites to write about SWAYAM, almost two years ago.

Under SWAYAM, professors of centrally-funded institutions in India — such as Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), and central universities — will offer online courses to citizens of India. It was supposed to be launched at the end of September 2014.

Victim Of Its Own Ambition?

swayam-india-mooc-platform

Right from the beginning, SWAYAM had ambitious goals to reach — they wanted to reach 10 million Indians. Coursera, the largest MOOC provider, currently has 1.3 million Indians on its platform.

I got further insight from an Open edX conference held in Boston in November 2014. Prof. Deepak B. Phatak of IIT Bombay gave a keynote around SWAYAM. According to Dr. Phatak, “large scale national rollout will unfold shortly.”

He went on to say that SWAYAM tried to a do a lot — in technology as well as in policy. It was the one platform that would bind Indian higher education, both online and offline.

Prof. Phatak mentioned that SWAYAM was an Indian open source platform based on Open edX, which is the same platform that hosts edx.org. It seemed that local Indian universities could deploy a version of SWAYAM and use it to run blended classrooms.

Here are some of the things the team wanted SWAYAM to achieve:

  • cater to native languages,
  • permit the offering of blended MOOCs,
  • incorporate local marks/grades,
  • offer proctored online exams,
  • integrate with AADHAR, the unique ID for Indians, and
  • provide content sharing between different platforms.

Prof. Phatak noted during his talk that some of these changes — such as proctored online exams, and local assignments and assessments — would allow students to earn credit through MOOCs. These credits would be transferable between different universities and schools. Regulatory bodies were supposed to be working on policies that would enable these innovations.

The video from the talk is here, and the slides of the talk are embedded below.

More Announcements

swayam-mooc-india-login-page

Over the last two years since it was announced, news about SWAYAM has been slowly coming through. But recently the pace of the news seems to have picked up.

Smriti Irani, the current Minister of Human Resource Development in the Government of India, recently released more details about SWAYAM. It seems that, in the past two years, SWAYAM’s ambition has grown further. Here are some key points.

  • In the coming two months (announced in May), the government will launch the IITPAL portal and mobile app for IIT JEE aspirants.
  • Five hundred courses will be available at launch, and in ten different languages.
  • Credit will be given for all courses on the SWAYAM platform.
  • One thousand examination centers will be built across the country, to enable Indians to take examinations for MOOC courses and receive certification.

Irani also took a swipe at MOOC providers (you can guess which) by saying that “many international MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) platforms claim to be not-for-profit but are profiteering when they ask academicians and institutions to pay for designing and putting up a course. The MOOC platform SWAYAM is truly free in that sense.”

Progress

A few days ago it was announced that the Indian government has selected Microsoft as its technical partner for SWAYAM. The deal is worth Rs 38 crore (~$6 million) and Microsoft will deploy a team of dedicated people to develop and maintain SWAYAM. Microsoft will run the app for three years, after which the app will be taken over by the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE).

According to the announcement, a credit framework has also been finalized that would allow the transfer of credits between institutions. Students across the country can get credit for MOOC courses on SWAYAM, and they can get it transferred and recognized at the parent institution.

MOOCs have brought affordable, university-level learning experiences to willing students across the world, free from the constraints of geography and socioeconomic status. But due to the lack of tie-in to the real world (namely credit), their impact has been restrained. But local governments have the power change that. By adapting the MOOC model, encouraging/investing in local universities to create these MOOCs, and by passing regulations that allow for credit transfer, MOOCs can finally achieve their true potential.

SWAYAM is an ambitious project, and it’s meant to revolutionize higher education across India. But its ambition might be holding it back from getting off the ground.

This is a guest post by Dhawal Shah, CEO, ClassCentral which first appeared here.

About the Author
Author: Dhawal ShahWebsite: http://www.class-central.com
Founder and CEO at Class Central.

Like what we do?

The Latest EdTech News To Your Inbox

Follow us:

   

   

 

Latest EdTech News To Your Inbox

 

The EdTech Tweets

EdTechReview Design Thinking: Revamping the Higher Education Curriculum - ETR https://t.co/jIQ11qzWOA edtech education edchat elearning highered
About 9 hours ago
EdTechReview RT @ediazsan: 5 TED Talks Educators & EdLeaders Must Watch https://t.co/rUmeYyb0Bq
About 11 hours ago

Follow etr_in on Twitter

About ETR Community

EdTechReview (ETR) is a community of and for everyone involved in education technology to connect and collaborate both online and offline to discover, learn, utilize and share about the best ways technology can improve learning, teaching, and leading in the 21st century.

EdTechReview spreads awareness on education technology and its role in 21st century education through best research and practices of using technology in education, and by facilitating events, training, professional development, and consultation in its adoption and implementation.

 

-> Read More

Join The Community

Subscribe and Join the 55,000+ members who trust us...

Testimonials
I find every news, reviews very informative and interesting. This site is indeed a great site for both teachers and learners. Thanks to EdTech for creating such an enriching site on education. Hats off!!
- Regin Brown, Educationist and Blogger, United Kingdom


My group likes this site because it's so up-to-date and has tons of relevant articles.
- Angela Giuliano, Teacher, New Mexico


Your write ups and articles ignites the minds making them receptive to the whole new wealth of EdTech.
- Jagat Rana, Parent, India


EdTechReview has some great resources for teachers who need to get some ideas about technology in the classroom.
- Loretta Wideman,Teacher, East Africa


EdTechReview keeps educators up to date with trending tech savvy terms relative to the discipline.
- Dr. Ingrid Rizzolo,Education Professional, Curriculum and Instruction Designer, New York City Area

-> Read More

Go to Our Client List

Adobe Avaya Bettasia Bonio Campus Management CK12 CKS Evernote IBM Intel IQPC Kidzania McGraw Hill Moodle Moot USC Rossier CMR University The British School Canadian International School Pathways Ridge Valley

Subscribe to our Newsletters...