In addition, the data we collect is presented in coach reports and student reports. Students can see exactly where they stand, and teachers too can use the coach reports to see exactly where students are struggling, and to provide highly targeted assistance — so learning can be personalised. This helps students learn better.
Our goal is not to replace teachers. There are students without access to teachers at all, or students who are struggling in school but who cannot afford tutors, or who ‘feel stupid’ if they are struggling and need help. We want to be a resource for all sorts of learners — both those with access to wonderful resources as well as those without.”
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) offer online education to anybody around the world. Some of the popular MOOCs offered today have been started by the best universities in world, offering courses from their institutes: platforms/initiatives such as Udacity and Coursera (Stanford University) and EdX (Harvard and MIT). These e-learning websites allow top universities and professors to share their knowledge with the world and give everybody a chance to study something they have a passion or interest for. And the best thing about these courses? They are usually free, although there is sometimes a charge to get certifications.
Priya Prabhakar, 15, is a student of the American International School of Chennai. She has taken many e-learning courses, ranging from courses in design and poetry to how to reason, and music. She enrolled in her first e-learning course when she was in the 9th grade. Why? “Because this learning is a great supplement to the limited learning that happens in school,” Prabhakar claims. She also points out that, besides opening up her mind to new fields these courses also give her an idea as to what she could pursue in college in the future. Although most of these are college-level courses, anyone is free to register for them and participate – obviously, this helps students understand what they can expect out of coursework in college, and specifically, from a course they are interested in pursuing.
The time taken to complete a course depends on the subject and complexity. Prabhakar, who has taken several courses with Coursera, says that each course lasts anywhere between four to 12 weeks. A course typically involves a professor and his team of teaching assistants (who are often students from the college itself). This team uploads around five teaching videos a week and registered students have to complete a weekly assignment based on these videos. The course also incorporates a discussion forum involving all the students who have enrolled, allowing everyone to discuss the subject, their assignments, and clarify their doubts. Generally, e-learning courses award students a Certificate of Mastery on successful completion of the course.