zxcPrime Minister Narendra Modi is soon planning to launch the SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) Bharat Programme. Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have decided to back up the programme by offering the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) way.

IIT Bombay (IIT-B) and IIM Bangalore have already announced the launch of MOOCs with overseas partners. IIT-B is offering two courses right now – a Basic Computer Programming course for Undergraduates, and a Thermodynamics course. It will soon be adding more MOOCs to the list. IIM Bangalore will be launching online courses on edX platform in 2015 in which 15% of the institute’s faculty will be offering the MOOCs over the next two years.

IIT Madras and NPTEL also launched its first course on Programming Algorithms and Data Structures this year and will soon launch eight new courses (include one in Humanities) in January. IIT-M and NPTEL MOOCs also had an element of proctored examinations. It means that students who get 50% in online exams can sit for an exam at the designated centres all over India. IIT representatives act as invigilators for centre exams while NPTEL offers an online certification at the end of the exam.

According to the latest news, IIT Kanpur is developing its own platform for MOOCs which is being called MOOKIT which will compete with more popular international online course platforms like Coursera and edX. IIT-K is also developing MOOCs in verticals such as Agriculture and Computer Science. Recently, IIT Kanpur wrapped its online course (MOOC) on MOOCs programme (where there were more than 2,300 participants) and is also running a MOOC on Mobiles.

The Government clearly said in the last Budget that it allocates Rs 100 crore to online education for MOOCs and virtual classrooms. Experts believed that IITs and IIMs are just following the government’s lead to the MOOC route. The target of the government to train 500 million people by 2022 looks more achievable with the help of MOOCs.

IIM Indore and IIT Gandhinagar are already offering broadband distance learning programmes. They are looking forward to run some of these courses on the MOOC platform which is planned to be created by MHRD.

IIT Patna has gone a step ahead and is planning to introduce flipped classrooms – a model in which students can go through the study material available on the MOOC platform and then, attend a live class from anywhere in India for better interaction. The ‘flipped’ model has been proposed to overcome one major drawback of the MOOCs – one-way communication. The live class for students will make it possible for them to have collaborative discussions with their faculty and peer members.

IIT Kharagpur is developing automatic programmes to grade MOOC assignments, as well as ‘learning analytics’ to track students’ learning patterns. Both these programmes will help in making MOOCs more interactive.

IIT Guwahati (IIT-G) has also proposed two MOOCs for the Swayam Bharat Platform (managed by IIT-B). It will be partnering with IIT-M and NPTEL MOOCs.

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