Students will be allowed to take online courses in select subjects offered by other universities, and the credits earned will be transferred to their college mark sheets.
The new system will kick in from the coming academic year.
The University Grants Commission (UGC), which uploaded all the online courses that would be offered by varsities across the country on its website on Wednesday, has asked all central universities to introduce online courses under the government’s ambitious Swayam (Study Web of Active Learning by Young and Aspiring Minds) platform.
The guidelines — called the UGC (credit framework for online learning courses through Swayam) 2016 — were issued on July 19. They were passed at a meeting of the commission recently, and later approved by the human resources development ministry.
Sources said the project would be formally launched in mid-August. Over 2,000 online courses will be floated for three crore learners under the Swayam project.
The guidelines underlined that no university would be able to deny credit mobility to a student opting for online courses.
“The parent institution shall give equivalent credit weightage to students for the credits earned through online learning courses in the credit plan of the programme. No university shall refuse credit mobility to any student…” it was stated.
However, an institution would be allowed to put up only 20% of the total seats being offered in a particular programme per semester on online mode.
“We want to widen the scope of higher education, and bring down costs through technological advances,” a senior official said.
Elaborating on the benefits offered by such a system, a senior official of the human resources development ministry said: “A number of students from backward areas will now be able to access teaching facilities of renowned institutes that offer online courses. This will enhance the overall standard of higher education in the country.” The task of creating the IT platform was entrusted to Microsoft. “We want to widen the scope of higher education and bring down its cost through technological advances,” a senior official said.
The UGC guidelines stated that on June 1 and November 1 each year, Swayam will notify the registrars of institutions about the list of online courses to be offered in the forthcoming semester. All courses from the school level to the post-graduate level would be provided as e-courses, with interactive eContent becoming available for free on the Internet.