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News & Press: July 2014

BITS Pilani joins the MOOC club

Wednesday, July 09, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kaushik Balasubramanian
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BITS Pilani joins the MOOC club

Dear BITSian,

Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences, Pilani is pleased to announce its partnership with edX, a worldwide consortium of Universities, including MIT and Harvard University, enabling online education on a large scale. BITS Pilani will be a contributing member of the edX consortium. It will leverage the platform offered by edX to enhance the learning experience of its own on-campus and off-campus students as well as offer MOOC courses (Massive Open Online Courses) to reach out to students outside BITS. This new initiative will support the objectives of BITS in expanding its technology footprint in education using tools, technology and platform from edX.

BITSians' Day 2014

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edX is a not-for-profit enterprise that promotes the educational missions of like-minded universities, all dedicated to improving our understanding of learning and delivering better educational experiences both on campus and beyond. The platform will also serve as a laboratory from which data will be gathered to better understand how students learn. The edX Consortium includes founding members Harvard and MIT and some of the world’s most prestigious universities such as Australian National University,Boston University, Delft University of Technology, University of Texas, Tsinghua University and the University of Queensland. The 32 charter members will continue to provide edX with strategic counsel, while driving its three-part mission: to open up access to the world’s best education globally, improve on-campus education, and conduct research to enhance teaching and learning.
In this context, Vice Chancellor of BITS Pilani, Prof. Bijendra Nath Jain had the following to say:

"We are most delighted to partner with edX at a time when BITS Pilani is in the midst of implementing several projects aimed at becoming a leading technical university in Asia. This partnership will enable BITS Pilani to enrich the learning experience of students enrolled in our on-campus and off-campus programs, as well as provide a platform to reach out to the world at large."

Announcing the initial agreement, Prof. Shan Balasubramanian, Dean for Academic & Resource Planning, said:

although BITS Pilani’s immediate focus will be to improve scale and quality of instruction it delivers to its own students, BITS will reach out to other students in India and elsewhere. BITS Pilani will offer 60 courses over 3 years for students across its four campuses and its off-campus programs through the Edge platform of edX while also offering several courses every year as MOOCs through edX to reach out to and engage with students outside the BITS system.”

Courses offered through these platforms 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.

Features that are available or planned for the edX learning platform include: self-paced learning, online discussion groups, wiki-based collaborative learning, assessment of learning as a student progresses through a course, and online laboratories and other interactive learning tools.
You can read the official announcement by edX here.

Behind The Scenes

July 2013, Mountainview, CA: BITSAA Board and BITS Leadership discussing the MOOC implementation Plan

What started as a casual discussion in the aftermath of BITSConnect 2.0, has finally taken concrete shape. Thanks to our esteemed board members, especially Viggy Mokkarala, S P Kothari, Raju Reddy and Shashikant Khandelwal, who were working closely with the BITS leadership and the edX folks to close this. Several other alumni participated in making this happen. This is in line with BITSAA's mission of enriching BITS brand and help it get established as one of the finest universities of higher education in Asia in coming years. On this partnership, Viggy said the following:-

"This is really a key development for BITS that is further enabled by BITSConnect2.0.  All these dots are connected and hopefully it takes BITS to a different level of classroom education among the 4 campuses and increase BITS' profile internationally."

This is a proud moment for BITS Pilani University and we are confident that BITS's wonderful education system will be accessible to many more people in the future.


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