Learning Online: Lessons from India for Universities around the Globe

 Learning Online: Lessons from India for Universities around the Globe

The higher education landscape has shifted dramatically in the past few months because of COVID-19. As universities around the world work to develop online and blended learning models, they can learn from pioneering efforts by institutions in India.

The higher education landscape has shifted dramatically in the past few months because of COVID-19. As universities around the world work to develop online and blended learning models, they can learn from pioneering efforts by institutions in India. 

With one of the world’s youngest populations — more than 50% of Indians are under age 25 — the country has a large and growing higher education ecosystem, including about 1,000 universities and more than 40,000 colleges.

Before the pandemic, roughly a dozen Indian universities had started using content through Coursera for Campus (C4C) to expand their course offerings. By adding online courses to the curriculum, these universities are not only giving students more flexibility but also providing access to high-quality instructional content created by top universities and companies from around the world. More than 170 university partners and 39 industry partners, including technology companies like Google, Intel, and IBM, build courses on the platform.

Early adopters of licensed online courses

Koneru Lakshmaiah Education Foundation, located in the Andhra Pradesh state in south India, implemented C4C in January 2020. They decided to let engineering students take 32 credits online, out of the 160 credits required for a degree, since up to 20% of credits applied to a degree can be earned online, according to guidelines set by India’s Ministry of Human Resources Development.

NMIMS, a Deemed to be university in Mumbai, started using content through C4C in July 2019. It’s taking a slightly different approach, giving engineering students the option to complete 20 extra credits online—for a total of 180 credits—to receive an honors degree with a specialization in artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies such as IoT and cloud computing. 

One of our earliest partners in India, the Manipal Group of Institutions, started using the Coursera platform two and a half years ago—well before we officially launched C4C in late 2019. They’re using Coursera content in two ways: (1) to enhance its core curriculum by integrating online courses into regular courses taught by Manipal Group faculty, and (2) to provide opportunities for multi-disciplinary learning by letting students across institutions to take online courses on a non-credit basis, in subjects outside their major. 

India’s emerging online and blended learning models

On March 12, in response to COVID-19, Coursera made the entire C4C catalog available for free through September 30, 2020. Roughly 8,800 colleges and universities around the world are participating in this initiative, which is delivering online courses to more than a million students. And more than a third of those institutions—about 3,400—are located in India.

educators page all coursera for campus education

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