Coursera, the US-based online education provider and the Indian School of Business (ISB), a premier global B-school, signed a partnership agreement on November 3, 2014, to develop courses for Coursera’s 10-million-plus learners.
ISB will be Coursera’s first Indian partner to produce and own content that will be served via the online education provider to learners worldwide. A course on “A Life of Happiness and Fulfilment”, designed by Professor Raj Raghunathan, visiting professor at the ISB, will be the first to be offered in the series.
Coursera has plans to widen its partner base in India to provide learners across India and rest of the world greater access to course content from premium institutes in India. This announcement also underscores the increasing importance and recognition of Indian academic institutions worldwide.
Dr Vivek Goel, former Provost of the University of Toronto and Chief Academic Strategist, Coursera, said: “The partnership with ISB establishes our local presence and intent to play an active role in India. As India’s internet connectivity improves, driven by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a Digital India, we believe the number of learners benefiting from Massive Open Online Classes (MOOCs) will increase rapidly in the next few years.”
Speaking on the occasion, Professor Arun Pereira, Executive Director of the Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Case Development, ISB, said: “ISB will enhance its footprint in the online education space globally through its association with Coursera. Having introduced several technology based initiatives that have enhanced the learning experience of its students — including blended learning and smart classrooms — ISB will now leverage the expertise of its world class faculty to design and deliver cutting edge courses that are accessible to the world.”
Over the last few years, ISB has introduced technology in different ways in its bouquet of programmes. The School has a Technology Entrepreneurship Programme for young engineers, a course on Business Analytics that combines online as well as classroom learning and was the first amongst B-schools in the country to adopt a Flipped classroom model of learning. The two campuses at Hyderabad and Mohali are connected by smart classrooms and video conferencing making it function as a single entity seamlessly.
India is Coursera’s largest registered user base outside the US with over 700,000 learners. It is a country with enormous unmet demand for higher education and skill development. According to researchers, India currently has the capacity to serve 28 million undergraduate students — only about 20 per cent of high school graduates — and faces challenges in adequately preparing graduates for jobs. Others point out that despite 60 per cent of the total population in India available for working and contributing towards GDP, only 25 per cent of the total pool is capable of being used by the market. “With Coursera participating actively in the India education market, we believe we will be able to provide access to quality resources that will enable generations, now and in the future, to compete in a global economy,” added Dr Goel.
The partnership with Coursera puts ISB among the ranks of 114 other universities and schools such as Yale, Stanford, Michigan, Rice, Edinburgh and Copenhagen Business School. These institutions produce content for more than 800 courses available for Courserians.