Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): A Joint Initiative of IITs and IISc

This is a good news for the technology aspirants out there. The IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) with the IISc (Indian Institute of Science) Bangalore, will deliver MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), as part of a project called NPTEL (National Program on Technology Enhanced Learning). The project which is funded by the HRD Ministry (Ministry of Human Resource Development) is a joint initiative of the seven IITs in Delhi, Chennai, Guwahati, Kharagpur, Kanpur, Mumbai and Roorkee, along with IISc Bangalore.

Originated from many deliberations between the IITs, IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) and CMU (Carnegie Mellon University) during the years 1999- 2003, NPTEL is a very sought after project. In this project, the 5 IITs and IISc Bangalore put a proposal of creating contents for 100 courses (Web based supplements), along with 100 video courses. The length of every course was of 40 hours approximately. The objective of the NPTEL project was to guide reforms that will transform India into a vibrant and strong knowledge economy. For this purpose, the focus areas of NPTEL project are – Higher education, Distance education, Professional education and continuous and open learning, roughly in that order of preference.

The NOC (NPTEL Online Certification) portal was launched by NPTEL lately, which is backed by Google and NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Services Companies). The portal offers 2 new courses at present. The 1st course is titled ‘Introduction to Programming in C’ and is being conducted by IIT Kanpur. This course aims to teach the students basic programming in C with a focus on problem- solving methods. The 2nd course is titled ‘Basic Electrical Circuits’ and is being conducted by IIT Madras. The latter course focuses on analysis of electrical circuits and is meant for 2nd year students of Electronics/ Electrical/ Instrumentation Engineering. Both the courses are being offered free of cost as of now. The respective IITs will provide an optional certificate for these courses, for a certain fee. The certification will be on the basis of the scores acquired in online assignments and a proctored exam.

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