Opting for online courses? Choose wisely

Opting for online courses? Choose wisely

Representative image. (Credit: Getty Photo)

In addition to attending online classes offered by your university, you may also wish to take up online courses from other universities and education platforms, to not only keep yourselves engaged but also to show potential recruiters, how well you utilised the lockdown period to re-skill and upskill yourself.

Given the current scenario, most top universities are making their online resources free. Massive Open Online Courses are provided by various B-schools and universities. The Ministry of Human Resource Development is also offering online resources and e-learning materials. 

However, an information overload can happen if you don’t choose wisely and understand the requirements of the job market. 

Traditional modes of teaching seem to be no longer relevant in today’s highly networked world. Technology and its advancements are propagating uncertainty and ambiguity around employability with the emergence of technologies like augmented reality, artificial intelligence, internet of things and big data management tools. Getting acquainted with these emerging technologies call for use of new pedagogies in learning which are adaptive, highly personalised and intuitive. Hence, the link between learnability and employability is subject to constant readjustment and re-building through course structures. 

It is important to understand that these kinds of courses must be practical and you may have to use datasets to show your intellect in understanding the concepts. 

Often, you might be tempted to take up another course, based on your interest but the course may not be aligned to your overall degree requirements. You must be aware that algorithms often guide you and decide your requirements based on your viewing preferences. 

For example, if you are viewing the course “Investing in Stocks”, based on your interest in stocks, you will find a “frequently bought together” section detailing more courses. This is similar to buying groceries online. If you buy a loaf of bread, you find suggestions for spreads, jams and similar condiments because you are buying bread. You can even spot “bestsellers” amongst courses. Sift through this minefield of information and decide for yourself instead of letting algorithms decide for you.

The most likely place you can also seek guidance from, is the course feedback. Again, this needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Who are these students giving feedback? Have they completed the course with flying colours? Were they diligently involved in all the assignments and were they attentively making notes? There is no way for you to find out the answers to these questions, hence do not consider feedback as the only mechanism for sampling a course. Read through several comments to determine the overall feedback, but let feedback be 20% of your overall assessment parameter. Go into the flow of these online sessions with an open and curious mind and dive deep into the vast and knowledgeable resources available.

(The writer is a media researcher)