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Monday, 15 February 2016

MOOC's Here. Are Our Teachers, Colleges Ready?

BENGALURU: "How many of you here don't know what a MOOC is," asked IIM-Bangalore director Sushi Vachani at a session with faculty members from differentB-schools across India on Feb 13, Saturday . One hand went up. 

For V Murugaiah, a professor of management at the Davanagere University , MOOC or massive open online courses(MOOC) is a new concept he learnt about at the IIM-B campus. "Our education system has teachers in all age groups. It's difficult for someone like me to catch up because MOOCs have not entered our university system yet," he said. IIMB, the first management school to offer MOOCs, threw open its doors to train over 100 faculty members from 50 B-schools on MOOCs and how they can be blended with class room teaching.The day long workshop was an eye-opener for many like Murugaiah. 

IIMB offers 15 MOOCs on the IIMBx platform through edX, a not-for-profit online initiative of Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology . "We have lots of b-schools but their quality leaves a lot to be desired. The evolution of MOOCs challenges our understanding of education," said PD Jose, chairperson of IIMBx. "But there is a problem of mindset." MM Sulphey, a professor from Kerala-based TKM Institute of Management, agreed. "For me, to develop a MOOC will be difficult. My institute may not support me because they are expensive," he said.Lack of infrastructure was a bigger challenge, he added. Vanita Shastri, dean of undergraduate programs at Ashoka University in Haryana, described MOOCs as the new frontier of education. "It is up to the universities and institutes to use cutting-edge technology so that their students will stand to gain," she said. 

Many universities now want to incentivise learning through MOOCs. "We have mandated students to take up at least two MOOCs as part of their regular course, for which they will be given credits," said Srikanth Deshpande, an assistant professor of management at Christ University. 
IIMB now plans a second workshop on MOOCs in the second week of March at Delhi.

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