Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences (BITS), Pilani has tied-up with edX, an open source learning platform, both online and in the classroom to offer MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) to reach out to BITS students. This new initiative will support the objectives of BITS in expanding its technology footprint in education using tools, technology and the edX platform. “We have better ideas to use our pedagogy through this and we intend showing how the same thing can be done differently. This will help us develop our programmes and find a way by which faculty requirements can be reduced. About 100,000 students will benefit from this. We will be offering three courses initially, and plan to increase that to 40-60 in the next three years. We intend to offer seven or eight courses starting January 2015. BITS will create the content whereas edX will provide the tools and platform to implement it. Our model of online courses is also different in the sense that it is only meant for our students, which is why we choose to call it SPOCs (small private online courses) instead of MOOCs as SPOCs. The courses offered include compiler design and computer programming,” says Professor Bijendra Nath, vice chancellor of the institute.
The courses will enable self-paced learning with a variety of online digital content, including recorded videos, online exercises and computer-based simulations. For students of BITS, this will complement classroom-based learning. For others, this will enable access to the best-in-class faculty and academic resources at BITS Pilani.
Nath says that the introduction of SPOCs will also encourage the concept of tutorials. “Through this initiative, the number of tutorials will also be increased to two per week. The courses will be offered from August. Our institute is the second after IIT Bombay to offer MOOCs,” he adds.The institute also offers courses in computer programming, microprocessors and interfacing in association with Coursera.