Ex­pert Speak

The im­pact of open on­line cour­ses will be si­m­il­iar to what the in­ter­net did for the spread of in­for­ma­tion across the globe.

India Today - - ASPIRE - Gita Ba­jaj works at the Man­age­ment De­vel­op­ment In­sti­tute

The im­pact of MOOCs on man­age­ment ed­u­ca­tion to­day.

There is a lot of buzz around Mas­sive On­line Open Cour­ses ( MOOCs) th­ese days. When Ivy League col­leges like Har­vard and the MITs, tra­di­tion­ally con­sid­ered elit­ist in­sti­tu­tions, have opened up their cur­ricu­lums for mass con­sump­tion, that too free of cost, there is bound to be some com­mo­tion in the mar­ket place. Dur­ing a re­cent con­fer­ence on trans­fer­ring In­dian ed­u­ca­tion through MOOCs, MM Pant and Mar­mar Mukhopad­hyay called upon pol­icy mak­ers to sup­port the spread of MOOCs and ed­u­ca­tors to en­able tech­nol­ogy en­abled ed­u­ca­tion in a ma­jor way.

MOOCs could po­ten­tially change the world of ed­u­ca­tion. When small and big mod­ules be­come freely avail­able to the masses in a sec­tor which is sup­ply driven the changes would be akin to what was wit­nessed in the re­cent past in many sec­tors. MOOCs have the po­ten­tial to do for the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor what lib­er­al­i­sa­tion did for the In­dian econ­omy in the 90s, what the in­ter­net did for the spread of in­for­ma­tion across the globe, what con­sumer fo­rums did to ser­vice providers, what Wikipedia did to knowl­edge and what Nap­ster did to mu­sic. The thread that weaves all th­ese dis­parate do­mains to­gether is that they were forced to­wards com­plete change due to emerg­ing tech­nol­ogy. The con­trol moved from govern­ment, or­gan­i­sa­tion and pro­ducer to mar­kets and masses; what could once only be ac­cessed by a priv­i­leged few be­came the right of all and the game changed from limited ac­cess to com­pe­tence rais­ing the bar for ev­ery­one.

So it would be in­ter­est­ing to ask ed­u­ca­tors who may be about to lose con­trol: Is it time to re­joice or rebel? To cel­e­brate or mourn? Well it is an in­di­vid­ual call be­cause no mat­ter what the ed­u­ca­tor chooses a rev­o­lu­tion is wait- ing in the wings; change is bound to hap­pen. Whether ed­u­ca­tors choose to lead the change or fol­low willy- nilly is a choice only they can make.

An in­crease in the num­ber of stu­dents opt­ing for on­line learn­ing with­out the de­sire to earn a de­gree or a cer­tifi­cate will open sev­eral av­enues of op­por­tu­nity. For ex­am­ple, a tenured pro­fes­sor teach­ing say 100 stu­dents for 30 years, ends up in­flu­enc­ing 3,000 stu­dents but one vi­ral video can al­low him/ her in­flu­ence 30,000 stu­dents at once. The kind of eq­uity one could build for one­self and one’s in­sti­tute in just a short pe­riod of time will be of great value. For teach­ers to­day there could be no bet­ter time than now to show­case your lec­tures through state- of- the- art videos sup­ported per­haps by an­i­ma­tion. It’s time to switch to blended class­rooms where you can add qual­ity ma­te­rial from the MOOCs to en­able more creative and en­riched dis­cus­sions. It’s time to be a rockstar teacher.

Stu­dents at Man­age­ment De­vel­op­ment In­sti­tute, Gur­gaon

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