Taking Learning Online: Lessons from India for Universities around the Globe

Online courses proved to be worthy long before Covid-19 locked the whole world down. Many universities across the globe implemented online degree programs and hybrid programs. In hybrid applications, universities give students an option to choose online courses along with an in-class course. To maintain their accreditation, such universities allow only one online course per semester. In the online system, a curriculum similar to the traditional method is given, with equal course work. Online courses proved to be an exemplary integration to the education system. Students can gain more knowledge on a subject by conducting multidisciplinary research regarding the course. 

Indian Government opened up its education system to online degrees, which attracted companies around the world, mainly US-based online education companies. The Government is positive in lifting the previous restrictions on online courses and making it more accessible to students by which education delivery in the country reshapes. It raises the standard of Indian Institutes globally. The US-based online education providers like Coursera hope that they can partner up with institutions in the country and provide a great many courses to students. Institutes like Koneru Lakshmaiah Education Foundation, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS), and Manipal Group of Institutions partnered with Coursera,  before the hit of Pandemic and providing online credits for students to gain.  

These online education platforms are providing courses that let universities offer students programs that are out of core area expertise. These courses would tend to be an additional qualification for them to put in their portfolio. If an Information systems Engineering student wanted to learn business-level operations, he/she could attend management courses provided by these platforms. Universities in India are attaching online courses from universities around the world to their regular courses so students can have a multidisciplinary approach to their learning. Instead of building a course from scratch, universities opt for this cost-efficient way of integrating existing online courses, which proved to be very efficient. With this approach, students can have knowledge shared by experts from around the world. Faculty can assess what the students are learning from these online courses and build a bridge to the classes that they take as the core. 

With these platforms, students can learn skills from different disciplines that help them have a successful career. Students are given choices where they can learn skills that help them carry a strong profile to interviews like certification in computing, courses in MS-office, and English courses for non-native speakers. With these cross-disciplinary approaches, students graduate with good knowledge of their subject and other disciplinaries as well. Students become well trained in managing complex problems and coming up with creative solutions. They also gain the ability to stay updated during technological advancements that occur regularly. With the guided projects, some of these online courses provide, students get good practice so they can apply what they learn. The certification from these courses gives students an attractive profile they can use in interviews.  

Online courses are proved to be cost-efficient as the institutes don’t have to spend money on infrastructure for classes that students can learn online. They can improve their resources by spending money on research and developing executive programs. With the pandemic, universities are looking into alternatives for the traditional education system. They are looking at methods of conducting classes like starting and finishing semesters sooner, accepting a small number of students into courses, and allotting half seats to the class strength. These are a few methods institutes around the world are testing at present. Online platforms proved to be the best alternative for times like these. Integrating online education, which India has agreed to follow, is beneficial to the students, faculty, and in the long run to the nation.

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