MOOC stands for Massively Open Online Courses an idea which has picked up steam in the last couple of years.  Microsoft Research India has rolled out a pilot project with Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) for a MOOC-like experiment blending online education with classroom learning. As part of its Massively Empowered Classroom project, Microsoft Research is offering free online certification on algorithm, design and analysis (ADA) for engineering students.

Two thousand students across 27 engineering colleges have enrolled for the semester-long program so far. “The recent excitement for MOOC is subtle and obvious. Technology has made students the centre of learning as opposed to constrained by a classroom,” said P Anandan, MD of Microsoft Research India. The course offers video lectures, online quizzes and tests at the end of each topic. Top ten students will get an opportunity to intern at Microsoft Research besides getting a certification from them.

Let’s have a look at the global scenario, if you have heard of MOOC you must have heard of Coursera. This education company was created by Stanford professors involved with one of the earliest massive online classes.

How did it all begin? By the simple expedient of opening Stanford Computer   science course online. Initial expected enrollment was few hundred, but soon crossed 1, 00,000.  This reflected a pent up demand for high quality free college level courses. In response professors involved with this project started two companies Udacity and Coursera and began delivering MOOC on the different subjects in the world. Coursera is probably the best MOOC provider they have huge corpus of content, lots of money and lots of talent. They have also 9.5 million students involved, up from 4 million last year. Since February 2013, 5 courses of Coursera have been given accreditation, meaning that you could take these 5 courses online and get educational credits.

Another MOOC provider with great reputation is edX. It provides 85 courses ranging from “International Human rights” to “fundamentals of Neuroscience “It is not for profit “school that offers mostly video based courses.

Udacity is also good, but is limited by its ability to provide only 28 courses.

Paid Courses:  Unlike the above mentioned websites, there are sites such as Udemy and Canvass network, which charges for some of their courses. Udemy provides not only academic courses but also courses such as cake making and juggling. Canvas network is experimenting with the boundaries of traditional education by introducing cross disciplinary courses.

iTunes U is another popular website which presents taped lectures on various subjects which can be viewed by students at their convenience, however this methodology lacks the learning atmosphere of on line learning atmosphere, though it might be good for students who want to absorb knowledge without the pressure of Home work or exams. is another popular website with curated courses, meaning a class might include lectures from different experts for each lesson. , Thus enriching the quality and content of the course. These courses can be put together quickly for student viewing.

The success of above players indicates a massive paradigm shift in the way traditional education is delivered. This model open vistas for students to learn from the best professors without having to enroll in top notch universities.  Currently enrolled students can concurrently update their knowledge by logging on to these websites. This model might lead to a university free education system, or alternatively might lead to few universities catering to the global population.  This is a challenge for the current university system and it is for them to devise strategies to counter this challenge.

So to conclude the revolutionary impact of internet is now being felt in the traditional bastions like university system. In the foreseeable future quality education would become globalized, quality oriented and cheap.  It also allows professors at Sharda University to design quality online courses in any discipline and offer them to the student population as a first step towards leveraging MOOC.