MOOC, An Online Distance Education Platform

In the digital era, a large number of people find it difficult for face-to-face learning because of the time that it consumes. So, for people who want to learn at their comfort led to the introduction of A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) which is basically a digital distance education system. It was initiated in 2008 and gained momentum in the year 2012 offers a great deal for students worldwide a chance to have access to distance education from the best institutes all around the world. It does not only provide online materials like video-taped lecturers, readings and problem assessments but also holds community interactions between students and professors. MOOC is a great path to pursue higher education.

MOOC is a platform where teachers and students collaborate which contains a pool of resources that are readily available. They have the option of listening lectures and downloading notes and the most important thing is interaction and communication with your peers. Networking seems to be of great relevance and it gives more emphasis to that aspect.

MOOC in India

India is also exploring on different avenues to make learning more exciting and interesting. The UGC along with HRD ministry has started MOOC programmes in India for higher secondary, bachelors and masters which covers a wide range of subjects.

A portal named Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds (SWAYAM) for MOOC has been initiated which offers 2000 courses out of which 200 courses are open for registration. Research and case studies based on self-assessment, illustrations and audio-visual study materials are the medium opted to study these courses.

The Chairman of the centre for E- learning says these courses are initiated to enhance the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education maintaining the quality and it is also a great way to bridge the digital divide in the country.

The Impact of MOOC in India

There are some notable institutions, both commercial and non-profit that provide MOOC courses and they are:

  1. National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL): The IITS and IISC provides online courses through this platform which does not require registration fee.

  1. : It is a cloud-based education platform which needs registration fee to get access to the courses provided by them.

  1. Open2Study: An Australian based online learning platform

  1. CourseraedXudemy: These are headquartered in USA.

Amongst all, Coursera is the top most providers of MOOC which was launched to make online courses available for those who has an intention to learn in a feasible manner. It offers courses ranging from science, social science and also digital marketing and designing. It has 2000 and above courses to offer.

What are the Limitations of MOOC?

The traditional mode of learning cannot be replaced with any forms of learning but these platforms provide an alternative approach to bridge the gap between different schools of learning. However, there are some limitations when it comes to using these learning mediums:

  1. Some nations aren’t capable to provide essentials for MOOC because of the lack of digital facility to enrol hence it is limited to many countries.

  2. All MOOC does not provide all courses, certificates and degrees or diplomas which limits the possibility of student’s enrolment.

  3. Since the students would be in a confined room with their laptop, they would not get exposure to the outside world. The interaction among peers besides online communication would reduce which eventually leads them to a place of seclusion.

  4. As there is no need for monitoring of the students, there is a high risk of plagiarism or cheating.

Scope for Employment in Online Education

MOOC extends its support by offering employment opportunities in the online platform medium but many working staffs are not satisfied with the level of education that it has provided. It only has an advantage for those who are seeking jobs in technology or computer sector.

MOOC’s ultimate aim is to impart skills in specific fields such as science, mathematics and technology. However, students appear to be more adaptive with this kind of learning but employers are sceptical about its working and growth. To conclude MOOCs are a great means for higher education not only in India but all around the world. But as they say there are two sides of the same coin, MOOC comes up with its pros and cons for the future prospects of students.

Vinod Kakumanu

Vinod Kakumanu

Founder & Consultant - School Serv

Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.

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