Jaaga, a Bangalore-based collective for artists and techies is launching Jaaga Study, a one-year course on computer programming, which uses Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) from various sources online to conduct classes offline. Jaaga Study relies on sources such as CodeAcademy, TeamTreeHouse, CodeSchool, Udacity, Stanford, Harvard and MIT, and this could well be a template for schools and colleges to follow for providing learning material beyond the curriculum. Such a system could also be used to introduce students to new concepts (such as gamification or bio-ethics), for which there is a paucity of subject-matter-experts.
It’s worth noting that MOOCs are gaining in popularity in India; we are the second largest market for MOOCs just behind United States, and 12% of edX‘s users are from India. The main problem with MOOCs has been the high drop-out rate which hovers around 90 per cent. In Jaaga’s case that might not be a big worry as the transfer of information happens in a physical space rather than via a browser, where bunking a class is as easy as closing a tab.
Microsoft Research India had rolled out a pilot project with Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) for a MOOC-like experiment, blending online education with classroom learning. Microsoft Research is offering free online certification on algorithm, design and analysis (ADA) for engineering students who are part of this programme. Educomp subisidiary WizIQ also has online courses, as does Kima Ventures backed startup Edukart. K-2 Learning is distributing tablets loaded with educational material to students, and MyBSkool offers diploma courses online.