Unconventional learning finds many takers

ONLINE COURSES

The world is at one’s fingertips and learning is literally one click away.

 Call it a rising trend or better accessibility to education resources but there is definitely a growing number of people opting for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in the City, with websites like Coursera, edX, ALISON and individual universities offering a host of unique, interesting courses. 

In this unconventional method of learning, one can be attending classes as per his or her convenience, in the comfort of one’s home or even on one’s smart phone! Shantanu Verma, a young professional, is taking a course on ‘Introduction to marketing and data analysis’ from Wharton School of Business on Coursera.

“This isn’t the first time that I’m doing an online course but the first time I’m seriously thinking about completing one. I feel that such courses are on a par or even better than the traditional means of education as they have professors from the best schools sharing their knowledge. With the dearth of good education platforms in this country, this model would definitely work here,” he opines.

Bushra Shariff, an artiste manager pursuing the same course, says that she too prefers this model. 

“The online system seems to value knowledge more than grades. This sort of learning isn’t meant for resume boasting. It’s a purer quest for knowledge on things that interest you or for real-life application on a daily basis in a job that you love so much that you’d like to improve your skill set further,” she says. 

There’s also the additional advantage of opting to pay a small fee to get a verified certificate of completing the course from top-notch universities that they are affiliated to. 

Sourya Sen, a freelance video editor has taken courses on ‘Design: Creation of artifacts for Society’ (from University of Pennsylvania), ‘Music Production’ (from Berklee College of Music) and ‘History of Art for Animators and Gamers (from California Institute of the Arts). 

“I’ve done both free and verified courses but the certificate doesn’t count as credits unless verified according to the course portals. 

However, those taking the course can list it as additional education anywhere they want. One has the option of taking a course and not submitting assignments if they just want to learn,” he explains. 

 Listing the advantages of this model, Sourya adds, “It’s a popular option because such niche courses aren’t offered anywhere else and it offers credibility. The best part is that others learning the same course get to grade you, which carries some weight.

  Getting one’s ideas and work validated by peopleglobally and seeing others’ works help open up the mind. There are also regular forums to discuss topics.”Vivek Wali, who has been pursuing course on MIT analytics on edX since March, says that he’s completing an online course for the first time. 

Sharing his experience, he says, “It requires a lot more initiative than a normal classroom course. But then this has its own advantage as you have a lot of enthusiastic people on the forums, which is where a lot of learning happens as well.”

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