Transforming Indian Education with MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)

Almost everyone in India is conscious of the importance and urgency of the Challenges in Education and these are reflected in several other parts of the world as well. Some of these are the challenge of numbers, of relevance, of Quality, of access

, of costs and of speed.

The solution to these multiple challenges probably lies in a number of disruptive innovative solutions. These include inculcating self-learning (building on meta-cognition), measuring learning, collaborative and co-operative learning, personalization of learning and learning analytics. However, in addition to new systems or technologies, we need a fundamental change of perspective. A very promising technological and pedagogical model that has received a lot of attention during the last few years and adoption by Stanford, Harvard, Duke and almost 100 of the world’s top ranking Universities to teach millions of learners is that of the MOOC. The MOOC is considered on the one hand as a panacea for education and on the other as a defilement of the sanctity of the higher education tradition. The truth will probably lie somewhere in between and we must explore the potential of MOOCs to create a model of simultaneously teaching on-site and off-site learners, using synchronous and a-synchronous teacher learner interactions to deliver high quality learning to large numbers, maybe evolve a model for a classroom of 10,000 learners.

Keeping this vision in mind LMP Education Trust , Qualifications and Assessments International (QAI), UK and CloudCampus presented a great educational event “Transforming Indian Education with MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)” on 9th August, 2013 at Silver Oaks, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.

Prof. Asha Singh Kanwar, President & Chief Executive Officer, Commonwealth of Learning (Vancouver, BC, Canada) was the Honorable Chief Guest at the event. In her keynote she addressed the attendees with her innovative thoughts on the potential of MOOCs including the reasons for the growth of MOOCs. Few of the reasons which she stated were the increase in higher education cost, decrease in number of quality institutions, growth of mobile devices, and evolving companies by educators offering MOOCs. In her talk, she did mention the top MOOC providers like Coursera, Udacity, Udemy and FutureLearn.

Prof. M M Pant, Founder of LMP Education Trust, in his talk conveyed to the attendees that technology alone cannot make changes in the education system but it will require many other elements specially trained teachers to have an impact. He added that Professional Development is an essential part of educational institutions today and they must have their focus on it to improve quality. He visions MOOC as a good PD technique and mentioned that the training and PD should be designed in a way that it makes a teacher capable enough to make a change and be a leader in the subject space.

The event covered important topics like:

  • The technology and pedagogy supporting MOOCs by Dr. Kinner Sachdeva
  • New skill sets needed for effective participation in MOOCs by Prof. George Eapen
  • Using MOOCs in different educational programs like STEM, Management Education, Medical Education, Legal Education, Language Training and Teacher Education.
  • The OER movement & launch of ‘The OER MOOC’ by Prof. Madhulika Kaushik
  • Announcement of several MOOCs (as mentioned below) in India by the organizer team. The MOOCs are being conducted on the following platforms: CloudCampus , Quampus, WizIQ.

Prof. M M Pant stated that while MOOCs began as University courses of about 12 weeks, they may evolve to shorter duration MOOCs, such as Nano-learning MOOCs equivalent to the standard lecture, micro MOOCs equivalent to the half-day ( 3 hour) seminar/workshop and an intensive 20 hour mini-MOOC.

Prof. M M Pant and Prof. Marmar Mukhopadhyay also shared their thoughts on the importance to know how humans learn. They emphasized that to know the science behind human learning and not just machine learning is an essential skill of the 21st century . Only a good relation between machine learning and human learning will make the transformation required.

You can know more about the tremendous efforts by Prof. M M Pant here .

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