The University Grants Commission (UGC) announced 123 free online courses for undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) students. The courses will be available on the Ministry of Education’s platform, SWAYAM.
About of the courses
UGC has enabled a provision for institutions to allow up to 40% of online courses in a semester. Keeping this and the covid situation in view, 83 UG and 40 PG courses will be offered for the July-October semester 2021.
However, the final evaluation of the course undertaken by the student will be based on internal assessment and semester-end examination.
These courses are non-engineering and offer a wide variety such as academic writing, animation, cybersecurity, digital library, film studies, Indian vastushastra, intellectual property, Shakespeare across cultures, and many more. These have been curated for the optimum utilisation of the online platform SWAYAM and to help students during covid times.
Moving towards blended education
Coronavirus pandemic infused people to find out ways to keep education going. In this direction, Education Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank had expressed that the future lies in blended learning, which involves a synergy between offline and online studies.
The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 also aims to recognise that students are the main stakeholders and to keep a student-centric approach, classroom learning is essential to be incorporated with online education which enables students to customise their education for effective output.
UGC’s recent concept note on the blended mode of teaching and learning is a step in this direction. According to the draft guidelines, higher education institutions, (HEIs) shall be allowed to teach up to 40% of the syllabus of each course via online mode and the rest 60% through offline mode.
During covid lockdowns, different institutions and teachers found ways to make learning fun and engage students in the process. Recently, IIT Goa asked students to prepare questions from the syllabus and answer them as well.
The UGC courses on ‘SWAYAM’ have four parts to offer to students – video lectures, study material, self-assessment tests and quizzes, and an online discussion forum for clearing doubts.
SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) is a Government of India initiative designed to facilitate online learning for students from class 9 to post-graduation. It was launched on July 9, 2017.
Courses delivered through SWAYAM are available free of cost to the learners, however, learners need to get themselves registered to receive a SWAYAM certificate. Courses by nine national coordinators, AICTE, NPTEL, UGC, CEC, NCERT, NIOS, IGNOU, IIMB, and NITTTR are available on the platform.
In addition to offering online courses to be taken from the comfort of homes, the government has been helping students cope with the changing times through its various initiatives.
Initiatives like Manodarpan, an initiative by the Ministry of Education has been providing psychosocial support to students for mental health during the Covid pandemic. Similarly, under PM eVidya, online courses are being made available to students from May 30, 2020. DTH channels like Swayam Prabha, Diksha, e-PG Pathshala, National Digital Library, e- ShodhSindhu, etc are constantly working to provide adequate material and meet the study-related requirements of the students.