6 things to know about Massive Open Online Courses

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Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to provide free online courses to thousands of students globally. The process of launching this system has begun. Before it’s formally implemented, not less than 15 IIT senior faculty members from seven IITs are busy designing the courses.


Seven leading IITs, Infosys, TCS, Cognizant and industry lobby NASSCOM are coming together to launch free online courses that could potentially help 100,000-150,000 people a year get high-quality education and make them job-ready.

6 things to know about Massive Open Online Courses:

1. MOOCs platform

The courses will be offered using the model of massive open online courses (MOOCs), which is globally creating an upheaval in the world of higher education.

The first three courses in computer science are expected to roll out this October.

Lakshmi Narayanan, Vice-chairman, Cognizant says, “This programme is particularly relevant to India because of the high number of young students who need to be educated and trained.”

MOOCs make high-quality education from top universities accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world, online and for free. The model was rolled out in early 2012 back-to-back by two start-ups, UDACITY and COURSERA, both emerging out of Stanford University. This was followed by edX, MIT-Harvard’s online courses platform.

2. Participating IITs and IT companies

The seven participating IITs include Delhi, Madras, Kharagpur, Kanpur, Roorkee, Bombay and Guwahati. The companies on board are Infosys, TCS, Cognizant and IT industry lobby NASSCOM. This is the biggest industry-academia partnership to help students and professionals access top-quality course content and meet specific industry demands.

3. Faculty

About 15 faculty members from the seven older IITs will form the faculty and are currently designing the course.

4. Course structure

First, IITs will run three mini modules of a computer science course, including programming, algorithm, and data structures.

Each module will have 12 lectures and there will be a total of 36 lectures over 12 weeks.

The next plan is to repeat this model in VLSI (very large scale integration) embedded systems and other branches of engineering and general sciences.

5. Certification

The candidate who completes this course will be eligible to write proctored exams for a minimal fee and get certificates.

For the computer science courses, IIT will give certification.

For foundation courses, industry will give certificates. It could also be a joint certification with IITs.

According to Andrew Thangaraj, associate professor of electrical engineering at IIT-Madras, “Students from second year onwards in science and engineering from any college can take the courses that will be offered multiple times a year.

6. Google, HackerRank, Cognizant provide Infrastructure

Google is providing its Course Builder platform for hosting MOOCs.

HackerRank will provide their web portal, where students can practice their programming assignments and get them verified and graded.

Cognizant will make available infrastructure at its training facilities during off-peak times, such as weekends, to enable students to take tests and get certified.

According to education experts, the new model will be of significant importance to Indian students who need higher technical knowledge for the fast-expanding IT industry. The courses will be in the form of mini modules and could be completed within 12 weeks.

The students will also be provided free lectures which could be accessed online. The curriculum will lay special emphasis on problem-solving abilities of the students.