Complementing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of a ‘Digital India‘ where quality education reaches the most inaccessible corners driven by digital learning, IIT Bombay has embarked on a commendable mass online education programme journey that will provide free online courses and give access to high quality IIT-style education to Indian students in Indian languages.
The step will significantly push the bar for quality online education in the country. After successful completion of part one of the course ‘Diseases of Horticultural Crops and their Management’ in continuation of its first Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in agriculture, the National Virtual Academy for Indian Agriculture will launch its second part on November 30, 2015. The launch of MOOCs (Part-II) in India, will offer high quality learning opportunities for students across the country. Earlier, the NVAIA had completed its first Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs) in agriculture.
The second part is being launched in association with the International Crops Research Institute for Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad and Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. The initiative has been taken by a team of experts of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in agriculture and educators from the ICRISAT and it collaborates with the Indian Institute of Technology – IIT Bombay. It is a two month free online course which is scheduled to commence on November 30, 2015 and expected to end on January 29, 2016.
The part one of the course ‘Diseases of Horticultural Crops and their Management’ was launched on February 2 in Chennai by Professor MS Swaminathan, Father of India’s Green Revolution and Emeritus Chair of the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF). Part 1 came to an end on April 27. Somewhere around 900 enrollments from learner participants were dome in part 1 from across the country ranging from participants holding degree from junior high school to doctorate level.
Dr Sumanthkumar, Scientist, ICT for Development, ICRISAT said, “The course materials have been methodically planned and prepared by highly experienced team of educators and professors in the agricultural field, who have devoted their time and effort to educate the Indian masses on sustainable agriculture practices.”
As per the official statement from ICRISAT, Part 2 structure of the course will take into account distribution, symptoms, causes, disease cycles and management of diseases of important horticultural crops and their economic importance. The same course can also be used as a supplementary study material at the universities in the current semester where ‘Diseases of Horticultural Crops and their Management’ is being taught.