India’s population is 3rd largest in the world after the US and China respectively, in terms of university enrolment. Literacy of masses, which was once a taboo for this country, is now taking place at a very high rate.
Still, the country is developing
right now, poverty and other national issues clearly prevail and it is not feasible for all its citizens to go for a proper university education, though education at school level is their basic right. Technology alone can come to the rescue in such situations and it already has quite remarkably.
With technology, open education comes as a blessing and MOOCs represent a huge opportunity for it. MOOCs have almost caused a revolution in online education and its practices. They provide millions of people across the country, free and unhindered access to high quality educational resources available online. So, all that’s needed is a device supporting Internet connectivity and a mind ready to gain most out of this free and abundant availability of education. There’s no doubt that procuring education in such a way, through MOOCs is way easier, possible and feasible for the people of a country like India than going for proper formal higher education in colleges and universities which is barely afforded by around 55% of its population and if money is not a hindrance then areas located remotely from such institutions also have no chance for such educational opportunities. But, technology as we know makes it way everywhere and to everyone and this new and raging concept of MOOCs for imparting education with such ease and simplicity is definitely a way out towards success.
If you think it is an issue for children in the backward areas of the country to learn using technology, then think again. Expert researches have proved that no matter to what area they belong or are raised in, the intellect and knowledge gaining power of young people is unbelievably high and Indian children often have huge potential for coping up to learn with digital technology, than previously assumed. These reasons have come to be widely known across the world, especially to the better developed part, which is now eager to help the country with all it can and we can see many US-based MOOC providers entering into partnerships with Indian colleges and universities or are making other arrangements to make MOOCs more accessible to people across India. For instance, IIT- Bombay is the first college in India to join the non-profit edX and propose to offer MOOCs. Other ventures such as Coursera and Udacity are also making arrangements to make MOOCs more available across India, and Coursera has seen a huge increase in Indian student enrolment.
Now, coming to the question of, Why MOOCs are being hailed in India and how they can help its education system? The answer that strikes me first is that, India is now being long known as a source of Information Technology; however, the country has not been able to produce that many IT specialists as is its potential, due to the lack of higher education opportunities. Now, comes the age of digital technology in which MOOCs can possibly bridge the gap between industry and academics.
MOOCs have been tested to a degree and would be a huge investment in India's higher education as well as contribute to one of the biggest open education revolutions in the world right now. Let’s look at the benefits of MOOCs for a developing country like India:
- MOOCs just require an Internet connection with a compatible device and in India most of the people can avail this, though they cannot avail of a proper higher education in universities/colleges, due to high costs, reach and opportunities.
- After successful course completion, MOOCs also provide certificates to the candidates. Most certifications are verified and this encourages us to adopt this phenomenon in place of traditional education. Many MOOCs are now accredited by world’s leading universities like Stanford, MIT, California University and more.
- India has earlier used web-based tutorials to impart online education, but their limited interactivity and amount of time per course failed to attract students. MOOCs are much more interactive and learners can learn at their own pace.
- Indian students are already and can become well adept with technology, and MOOCs are a great driver. With a vibrant ecosystem of technology, India will find a way to leverage MOOCs for literacy throughout.
- Apart from higher education, another significant application of MOOCs is in corporate training. Many industries have already partnered with leading MOOC suppliers to certify their software engineers. MOOCs offer employees flexibility to get trained at their own pace.
- MOOCs leverage information technology to reduce the burden on on-campus professors and facilitate a more interactive learning experience for large numbers of students.
- India has the highest population of university-aged students in the world and the concept of MOOCs, will help most of them achieve literacy and other educational help.
- In developing countries such as India even very minor tweaks matter a great deal, such as the ability to allow students to download, rather than only stream course videos. But even more major ones are coming, which will allow even more universities to post online courses, and software programmers around the world to experiment with customized interfaces.
With the potential to host tens of thousands of students in a single course, MOOCs make lots of content available to lots of people. Even in a developing country like India, a growing number of people are looking for alternatives to the traditional college experience and online education through MOOCs offers tremendous opportunities. MOOCs propagate the message of learning what you like without constraints – affordable, open learning for all.
I feel that, MOOCs are a great way for transforming the education landscape in India and more and more people should adopt MOOCs for learning and get themselves educated for free and in the way they like to drive away ignorance from their daily lives and support their developing country to foster a quick development and success. Share your views and knowledge with us. The Comment Box is waiting for you.
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