SWAYAM: India's MOOC Tomorrow is Here!

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SWAYAM: Evoking an Innovative Tomorrow As the 25th of September, 2014 is approaching, the stirs in the Indian educational landscape are becoming louder. Educational Technology, which has become a talk of the global town today, will receive yet another contribution from the vibrant learning land of the world. India shall enter the elite club of countries where education is free to innovate and collaborate.

(MOOCs are Online Courses that are offered by educational, professional institutions or by industry/corporates. One needs to enrol online, it takes 2 to 8 weeks to complete a course and get your certificate. Quality Content through online lectures, discussions, downloads and assessment quizzes is provided. However, these certificates can not be used to take admission in traditional courses, still, the worth is there. MOOCs give you an opportunity to learn what you want to learn, making you free from time-place-money and fear of failure.)

India shall be launching its own MOOC platform named SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active-learning for Young Aspiring Minds). Swayam, which stands for Self-Learning is the Indian Version of Massive Open Online Courses. Two MOOCs from IIT-Bombay and one from UC Berkeley’s Umesh Vazarani (Princeton) have been decided. More IITs, IIMs, and other central universities will be offering MOOCs. It is expected that more universities, from the private sector, too will join this mega mission to make India an EdTech enabled nation. The responsibility of running the inaugural three MOOCs has been given to the ‘flag-bearer’ of the MOOC revolution in India, Dr Deepak B. Phatak of IIT-Bombay. He has fulfilled the commitment to come up with a roadmap within two months of the task assigned to him.

Arun Jaitley, the finance minister of India announced in the 2014 Union Budget that rupees 100 crores are allocated for Online Learning and Virtual Classrooms. This allocation is not without any reason. It is not even political. It is the need of the moment and with each minute of delay; India faces the empty eyes of the learners who have seen the ‘Smartness’ in the west, and awaiting the same here. The Prime Minister of India assured about the education’s productivity and has ensured that the ‘I-I-I’ Ideate-Initiate-Inspire formula works for the youth. It was about connecting with the advancements already happening in the world.

India has more than 150 million minds ageing between 18-23 years. And we are certainly the most attractive market for education industry titans. With over 400 million school-college age people in India, the opportunities are immense and everlasting. India offers the largest database of learners if count it without any age limit. Hence, anything which seems to cater for the needs and also provides skilled learning is welcoming for the citizens. It is not just the numbers that take India to the top position in the education sector; it is the unending demand which is making the world look on us. All leading universities of the world have Indians in lead-teaching and students.

India’s role in international education is also exceptional; until now it has been one of the most vital student source markets for western educators. As the fastest growing market of the world, India has been acknowledged by the world as a prime target to sell their manufactured products. The growth of the economy has directly inclined towards the education sector. To establish and survive in competitive times, a company needs professionals who have a regular connection with learning. Apart from this, there are millions who are skilled and have interests in multiple domains but have no formal or semi-formal way to ensure acceptance of their skills.

With the advent of the economic revolution and development, the world has adopted and adapted to new ways of learning. What we used to understand from the term ‘Education Technology’ in the old decades has now become a sophisticated trend in education. Smart Learning has come and a pragmatic approach to classroom teaching has strengthened itself a lot. Teachers find it challenging and the technological advancements have asked for “Calibration’ in the skills and approach of teachers. Going with the wind, the teaching community has opened its doors to change. EdTech has emerged as the panacea to poor learning which was previously less fruitful.

SWAYAM is a milestone for the new-vibrant India, where self-learning can be a bonus not only for enrolled students in higher education but for working professionals and housewives as well. The benefits can easily go to the rural heartlands of the nation where the farmers can also be taught the better ways if farming. It depends on the internet facility and the government has already started the Connecting India task.

At a time when, EdX, Coursera, Open2Study FutureLearn etc are leading the market withing its evolution in the last two years, SWAYAM can bring India to the forefront of Digital Learning. The day is not that far when Open and Online Learning will be able to make the nation an educated and technologically sound place. The MOOCs (Massic Open Online Courses) shall be transforming into MOOPs (Massive Open Online Programmes) where accredited degrees will also be given. It looks like a dream- but it is in the eyes now. The challenges of resources and scarcity of teachers can be handled with online teachings. Awareness levels are certainly going to get into good health through online learning.

Indian business industries, corporates and even the MNCs can join hands to offer specialised MOOCs to the learners. The working professionals can also join the MOOCs and enhance their skills and expertise. Reliable associations among institutions and industry must be created as India is a country where a certificate matters most. With the accreditations available to MOOCs, there is a risk, but that does not stop it from gaining grounds here. India is on the second rank in the total number of MOOC Study Webs of Active-learning for Young Aspiring Minds in the world. However, we still need to work out the 'successful completion of the course'.

MOOC, EduSoMedia, EdTech etc. have developed significantly in the last few decades. The definitions that we used to read about Education Technology have changed altogether. There is a new call for "Collaborative Learning" where inclusive and participative teaching-learning happens. Education Technology seems to be India’s own philosophy. We have been practising Eklavya’s concept of learning with the ‘Teacher’s Presence’ in our lives, not just in the classroom. It is believed that Eklavyaism can better be related to MOOCs where the presence of the teacher is not necessarily required. Self-enabled learned to learn by themselves.

Swayam: Self Learning!!!

EklavyaParv wishes you the best in every step-every course- every learning you bring to us.

The Tweet from the HRD Minister of India is here:

Joint Declaration of Intent for cooperation in the field of higher education for Indo-US partnership for SWAYAM
SWAYAM Joint Work by India and US
About the Author
Author: Parveen Sharma Website: https://linktr.ee/teacherparv
'You Create Yourself' is the belief that drives EklavyaParv! It is a Life Long Learning Mission with firm belief in the philosophy of Eklavyaism. We share learning on Communication Skills, EdTech, Life Skills, Blended & Innovative Learning and Insights about Career, Skills and Lifelong learning. Founded by Parveen Sharma, EklavyaParv is part of various pioneering initiatives like EduSoMedia, EduPodcasts, PodMOOCs and Skill-ogy. He is a faculty of English, Communication Skills with globally acknowledged expertise in EdTech and Innovative Teaching. You can listen to his podcasts on all leading platforms.