Forensic science, psychology, commerce, options galore in online courses

  • Gauri Kohli, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 23, 2016 17:56 IST
Learners will get time for revision and self-study when they opt for these MOOCs. (Shutterstock)

E-learning centres and academic institutes have geared up to offer courses under SWAYAM MOOCs, under the ministry of human resource development. The Centre for e-Learning (CfeL) at Delhi University’s SGTB Khalsa College is developing 96 PG courses in six subjects (16 per subject) namely commerce, chemistry, forensic science, economics, psychology and business economics) under the e-PG Pathshala project of the UGC as part of the HRD ministry’s National Mission in Education. According to Professor AK Bakhshi, chairman, CfeL, “The centre was created in October 2013. The purpose of the e-PG Pathshala project is to develop high quality interactive and multimedia enriched e-content for post-graduate courses. Out of all subjects to be covered under this project, six subjects are being handled by the CfeL. It is for the first time that e-content for the PG level is being developed. For each subject, e-content for 16 papers is being developed (four per semester). So in all we are developing e-content for 96 papers in these six subjects. Of these 96 papers, 42 papers have been already repurposed into 42 MOOCs (one MOOC per one semester paper).”

Each of the 96 papers will have 35-40 modules. Each module will have four components - e-text; audio lectures supported by text, animation and videos; self-assessment including self-graded e-quizzes with feedback and suggested readings, web-links and value additions. The e-content in these four components will be delivered in 15 weeks and in addition to these components, there will be activities and discussion forums. Of these 15 weeks, two weeks will be meant for revision and self-study where the student will be required to submit assignments. At the end of 15th week there will be a proctored examination, adds Professor Bakhshi. Nearly 1,000 academicians from across the country and about 60 full-time staff have been involved in the development of e-content and MOOCs at CfeL.

Read more: Self-learn with HRD ministry’s free online courses

According to Professor Bhushan Trivedi, who has developed the only ICT MOOC on artificial intelligence under SWAYAM, “The course is about learning how a computer can be made to solve problems which humans are better at. For example, playing chess or shortlisting resumes. The course is useful for computer science, engineering or IT students. It is about coding computer programmes to solve these problems. The course contains methods to represent such complex problems, solving those problems using typical methods specifically designed for them, and designing computer systems (called expert systems) which can work like human experts. The course 15-week course contains 36 modules with required preview exercises, weekly tests, the course content in the form of a document and associated presentations, glossaries and related pointers.”

The idea is to provide each and every course offered by conventional universities under SWAYAM, says Professor Trivedi. Another interesting set of courses includes forensic science with MOOCs such as fingerprints and other impressions, forensic chemistry and explosives, forensic toxicology and forensic medicine.

Professor GS Sodhi, coordinator of the courses, says, “Each course will be of six credits spanning 15 weeks. Week 9 and 15 are assessment weeks. The courses have been designed to cover almost all important aspects of forensic science. In the course titled fingerprints and other impressions, we have highlighted some of the latest techniques of developing finger impressions on crime scene evidence. These techniques are yet to enter textbooks. In the course on drugs of abuse, we have not only discussed the classification of drugs, but their methods of analysis as well. We have also suggested the procedure of collecting and packing the drugs found at the crime scenes. In the course on forensic medicine, we have dealt with different components of death investigations and the importance of post-mortem examination.”

There are courses in Sanskrit too. Sudharsanan S, deputy coordinator of MOOCs at Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, says, “These MOOCs have been designed in simple understandable ways with images and animation. These will help learners understand Sanskrit Shastras and its vast literature, science behind Vedas, Sanskrit philosophies etc. Learners will be able to transfer credits as per the choice-based credit system after completing these courses.”

The initial lot also includes MOOCs on business environment, accounting for managerial decisions, financial management, international business, strategic management and security analysis and portfolio management. MOOCs for psychology include cognitive science, quantitative methods, applied psychometrics, social psychology, cross-cultural psychology, counselling psychology, neuropsychology and clinical psychology.

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