Digital Education is changing the way people learn and teach across the globe
Want to take a course for an ivy-league University but confused where to begin? MOOC is the right platform for you.
Simply stated, a massive open online course (MOOC) is a model for “delivering learning content online to any person who wants to take a course, with no limit on attendance.” Here, you won’t be constrained by time, finances and distance as long as you are digitally connected.
What is MOOC?
Providing free online courses available for anyone to enroll, MOOCs is described as an “affordable and flexible way to learn new skills, advance career and deliver quality educational experiences at scale.”
While traditional courses charge tuition, carry credit and limit enrollment to a few dozen to ensure interaction with instructors, the MOOC on the other hand, “is usually free, credit-less and, well, massive,” defined an article in The New York Times which christened 2012 as the ‘Year of MOOC.’
MOOCs have been around for a few years as collaborative techie learning events, but this is the year everyone wants in, the article said adding that elite universities are partnering with such provider with a furious pace. The Khan Academy record short video lectures on “everything from embryonic stem cells” to “hedge funds and venture capital” were early precursor to the course.
A study of ‘HarvardX and MITx: Four Years of Open Online Courses’ by Isaac Chuang and Andrew Dean Ho in December 2016 highlighted that since 2102, a total of 2.4 million unique users participated in one or more MITx or HarvardX MOOCs, with an average 1,554 new, unique participants enrolling per day.
Along with free courses, however, several for-profit platforms have also emerged giving courses from reputed universities for a price. Among the well-known names are Coursera, Udacity, FutureLearn, WizIQ and so on.
While some Indian Universities and institutions are participating in existing global set-up, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), the pioneer in distance education courses in the country, ventured in the digital education arena with 11 free MOOC in April 2017.
Out of the 11 MOOCs launched, two certificate courses in Russian and e-learning are already functional and the university will roll out 44 more MOOCs in next three months, reported PTI news agency.
As a response to rapid commercialization of the online course, Massachusetts Institute of Technology started its own “not-for-profit MITx” in March 2012. Later, Harvard University joined it and renamed it ‘edX.’ The institutions put up the original $60-million to start the non-profit MOOC and offers “interactive online courses and MOOCs from the world’s best universities and institutions.”
According to its website, edX is a nonprofit online initiative created by founding partners Harvard and MIT and composed of dozens of leading global institutions, the xConsortium and offers interactive online courses and MOOCs from the world’s best universities and institutions.
Later, edx partnered with Google to jointly develop the edX open source learning platform, Open edX, and expand the availability of the platform and its learning tools to individuals and institutions around the world.
According to MOOC.org, there are now more than 90 global partners counted as ‘the world’s leading universities, nonprofits, and institutions’ as its members.
EdX claimed that it is also founded by and continue to be governed by colleges and universities and “the only leading MOOC provider that is both nonprofit and open source.”
How to take a course?
Usually, all the courses available in the edX are free and the learning pattern is flexible. However, one has to make a registration and choose the courses from thousand it from hundreds of subjects or paper listed in the website. Upon registration, its email newsletter will informed the registrants about the start of new course or the progress of the one s/he is currently enrolled with.
If students want verified courses, honored courses as well as graded items, course completion certificates or exams from the institution, they can register for the same with a minimal price. A website called ‘MOOC List’ (www.mooc-list.com) also act as a directory of MOOC offered by different providers. After choosing a course, it directs user to the providers for registration.
According to the Edx.org, the most popular subjects are Computer Science; Business & Management, Humanities Language and Data Analysis & Statistics. However, one can take customized courses from top universities and top faculty in almost all subjects and papers from more than 1,300 courses. Currently, there are more than 33 Million enrollments across edX course.
The choices for courses are limitless and massive. For example one can take enrolled for a diverse course like “Hong Kong Cinema Through Global Lens” from Hong Kong University; The Architectural Imagination from Havard; Circuits and Electronics 1: Basic Circuit Analysis from MIT; or Music For Wellness from Berklee College of Music etc.
In September 2016, edX also launched a new category of Master’s-level online education. The modular programs, “which offer a credential with a pathway to credit, provide high-quality education from top universities to help learners launch or advance their career, or follow a path to an accelerated Master’s degree.” Accordingly 14 universities including MIT, Columbia University, University of Michigan, Thunderbird School of Global Management, a unit of the Arizona State University Knowledge Enterprise, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) and more offer “advanced education in an affordable and flexible manner” in subjects ranging from artificial intelligence to project management and supply chain management.
Learner can also take professional Certificate course and XSeries Certificate Created by world-renowned experts and top universities.
(Morung Express Feature )