Training and skills development firm NIIT has partnered with US-based edX to offer online courses from leading international universities including MIT and Berkeley to about 5 lakh people over the next three years. “Through this partnership, NIIT and edX aim to create high-impact learning experiences for learners by offering a blended learning MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) model,” said NIIT Chairman Rajendra Pawar.
edX is a not-for-profit joint venture between Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and offers online courses from world’s leading universities like Berkeley, Caltech, IIT-Bombay and Princeton University.
Anant Agarwal, CEO edX and MIT Professor, said, “India has always been a focus for us, especially with the government’s emphasis on Digitalisation and Upskilling. With this strategic tie-up, edX will offer a tremendous opportunity to learners to access high-quality education.” Pawar further said the course will be engaging and offer live interactive experience going much beyond the core MOOC content.
About 10 programmes across areas like programming using Python from MIT, HTML5 from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Data Science and Analytics from Columbia University, and Data Science and Engineering with Spark from University of California, Berkeley, will be offered jointly by NIIT and edX. “In the next 3 years, we are looking at reaching to 5 lakh people,” he said. The 3-4 week courses will be priced between Rs 7,000 and Rs 10,000. These can be availed by students as well as working professionals looking to upskill themselves.
Despite the popularity of MOOCs, studies have found that completion rates of the programmes are low with some reported to be significantly less than 10 per cent. The low retention and completion rates are major concerns for educators and institutions as an estimated 5 per cent of enrolled students complete a free MOOC. Even MOOC courses with paid verified certification options see completion rates of only 60 per cent or higher.
“So, there is significant scope for improvement which this initiative is targeting with its unique blended learning model,” he said. For select courses, NIIT and edX will offer a pre-configured course that includes the MOOC, blended services from NIIT and certification exam from the institutional partner.
edX has partnered with Indian universities like IIT Bombay, IIM Bengaluru as well as Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani. It has more than 7.3 lakh Indian learners and has seen 96 per cent growth in its Indian learner base over the last year.
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