What are MOOCs?

  • MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. Since 2012, MOOCs offered free by top-ranking academic institutions like Harvard, MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley and many others have created a great impact on the higher education front through out the world. The democratization of higher education now has become an achievable goal and educational content of high quality delivered through effective cutting-edge technologies is within the reach of any seeker with internet access. EdX, a non-profit started by MIT and Harvard and Corsera started by Stanford professors are among the pioneers in this endevour offering quality rigorous courses in varied disciplines like biology, business, chemistry, computer science, economics, finance, electronics, engineering, food and nutrition, history, humanities, law, literature, math, medicine, music, philosophy, physics, science, statistics and more.

How to exploit the potential of MOOCs for our institutions?

  • Good MOOCs are delivered with the same content and rigour as is followed in the world-class institutions. They are run on time-bound schedules with video lectures, discussion forums, short instruction videos interspersed with exercises, quizzes and assignments with autograders providing detailed assessment and feedback and all the documentary resources required for completing the courses delivered through sophisticated web technologies. The best way to integrate these MOOCs content in our class rooms is to make available the video lectures and others learning material to our students, who will come to class after going through the material. Then the class room becomes an active learning platform where the faculties and teaching assistants will spend their valuable time interacting with the students, solving their problems, pointing to other resources. The class room also becomes a venue for effective peer-to-peer learning.

The MOOCs club at IITRAM

  • IITRAM is one of the early adopters of the vast opportunities that MOOCs offcer. For example some short videos from the Harvard computing course CS50X have been integrated in to tutorial sessions of the Engineering students. Some faculties and students have registered for courses particularly from EdX.
  • Currently the MOOCs being pursued by the staff and students of IITRAM include the following :

    • Introduction to Computer Science (CS50X ) from Harvard,
    • Introduction to Computer Science and Programming through Python (6.001X) from MIT,
    • Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science (6.00.2x ) from MIT,
    • Embedded Systems - Shape the World (UT.6.01X) from University of Texas at Austin,
    • Principles of Written English (ColWri2.3x ) from University of California at Berkeley