“Education beyond brick and mortar” by Taylor Walsh

Over at Live Mint, Taylor Walsh, author of Unlocking the Gates: How and Why Leading Universities are Opening Up Access to Their Courses, writes about the future of online education in India.

While many commentators point to MIT as the flagship example of a robust open courseware program, Walsh uses the example of The National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning to illustrate the possibilities and pitfalls that await open courseware programs.

“While MIT’s may be the most prominent effort to make online course materials freely available to a mass audience, an impressive initiative from India’s flagship universities is perhaps beginning to rival it.” writes Walsh. “The National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) has given away thousands of hours of free audio and video lectures since 2003. Formulated jointly by the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the programme offers a unique and compelling example to the rest of the open courseware movement, and has much to teach its peers around the world.”

However, Walsh cautions that the NPTEL program has not quite achieved all of its stated goals. Work must continue, but Walsh notes, “Should the IITs’ virtual campus come to fruition, these universities would be the world’s first premiere institutions to offer a credit-bearing, fully online version of their core undergraduate programmes. If such a virtual university could equal the IIT benchmark of quality, it would set a new standard for online education, solidifying India’s position in this field.”

Read the complete article here.