Digital Learning: An overview of MOOCS

Published at December 12, 2018 12:01 AM 0Comment(s)11889views

Ishfaq Majid

Digital learning is an innovative method that integrates technology with the process of learning. Digital learning can be implemented across any areas or fields of learning. This type of learning allows the learner to grasp concepts quickly in a more efficient way. With the advent of smart phones and computers, the process of learning has evolved rapidly.

The 21st century has been rightly termed as the digital era. With internet bringing a substantial change in people live we are heavily dependent on the usage of technology to even complete simple tasks. Most of you must have heard about digital learning. The E-Education has certainly ignited the teaching sector. Gone are the days of blackboards, the chalks and the dusters. They have been substituted with web based education which strengthens student’s learning experience.

Among digital learning initiatives, SWAYAM is a programme designed to achieve the three cardinal principles of Education Policy viz., access, equity and quality. SWAYAM seeks to bridge the digital divide for students who have hitherto remained untouched by the digital revolution and have not been able to join the mainstream of the knowledge economy.

The courses hosted on SWAYAM are in four quadrants:

  • Video lecture
  • Specially prepared reading material that can be downloaded/printed
  • Self-assessment tests through tests and quizzes and
  • An online discussion forum for clearing the doubts

Steps have been taken to enrich the learning experience by using audio-video and multi-media and state of the art pedagogy/technology.

In order to ensure best quality content are produced and delivered, nine National Coordinators have been appointed: They are AICTE for self-paced and international courses, NPTEL for engineering, UGC for non-technical post-graduation education, CEC for under-graduate education, NCERT & NIOS for school education, IGNOU for out of the school students, IIMB for management studies and NITTTR for Teacher Training programme.

The OLabs is based on the idea that lab experiments can be taught using the Internet, more efficiently and less expensively. The labs can also be made available to students with no access to physical labs or where equipment is not available owing to being scarce or costly.

This helps them compete with students in better equipped schools and bridges the digital divide and geographical distances. The experiments can be accessed anytime and anywhere, overcoming the constraints on time felt when having access to the physical lab for only a short period of time.

The 'learning-enabled assessment' through OLabs facilitates in the assessment of; the procedural and manipulative skills of the experiment, the concepts and understanding of the experiment and a student's reporting and interpreting skills.

NPTEL is an acronym for National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning which is an initiative by seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT Bombay, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras and Roorkee) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) for creating course contents in engineering and science.

NPTEL is a curriculum building exercise and is directed towards providing learning materials in Science and Engineering by adhering to the syllabi of All India Council for Technical Education and the slightly modified curricula of major affiliating Universities.

The NPTEL faculty have modularized their courses into core concepts which every one of these institutions may teach and topics which are add-ons to the course.

Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. Khan Academy tackles math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more.

Its math missions guide learners from kindergarten to calculus using state-of-the-art, adaptive technology that identifies strengths and learning gaps. It has also partnered with institutions like NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences, and MIT to offer specialized content.

MooKIT is a lightweight MOOC management system built entirely using open-source technologies by Indian Institute of Kanpur (IITK), in 2014. It is a powerful system that can be used to offer online courses at any scale, from micro to massive. It has been used in 15 courses with about 100,000 registered learners.

Open edX platform is being used by educational providers to host their own MOOCs, all over the World. Including MOOC, it can also be used to host smaller classes and training modules.

Also, educators can extend the platform to build learning tools that precisely meet their needs, and developers can contribute new features to the Open edX platform, due to nature of its availability as an open-source.  Currently, it being used by various ellite universities like, standford, and the organizations such as Microsoft, and two Indian MOOCs, IITBX and SWAYAM are also on the list.

Apart from these, the President also launched the National Digital Library (NDL), an online library that provides anyone in the country free access to over 70 lakh books. This is the biggest online library in India.

With the launch of these revolutionary initiatives, higher education, particularly quality higher education, will not be out of reach for any capable student in the country. No child desiring to pursue higher studies shall remain deprived of it for lack of resources, finances, or opportunity.

This entire works only with the help of Internet but if the internet facility is not there, these kinds of resources are of no use.


Author is Research Scholar at Central University of Gujarat



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