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This Is How Institutions Can Improve Their Online Education

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The Online Learning Consortium releases a list of best practices for digital classes to improve institutions programs.

Higher Education these days is no more limited to empty and dusty classrooms. It is no more about teachers giving long lectures to the students. Online learning in higher education is proving itself much advantageous for both the students and for the teachers. It is not only enhancing the flexibility of the universities but is also proving itself to be convenient for many students especially for those who are unable to attend the classes on a regular basis on a campus.

FACTS AND STATS

With over 400 million internet users online education has reached up to a whole new level. If we have a glance at the global stats, according to a recent survey, enrollment in online programs has tremendously increased from 2015-16. Around 6.5 million students from nearly 5000 universities and colleges in the U.S. have taken up to at least one online program (course) each by the end of 2016; which was certainly a massive rise as compared to the previous years.

In fact, India is no less as it is now the third largest online market for education in the world, which has the worth of nearly $3 billion. With such great stats and performance, it is likely to state that India has picked up great pace in the field of online education.

ONLINE v/s OFFLINE LEARNING

Despite such great statistics and advantages; in some aspects, online learning is probably still not able to keep up with the traditional age-old higher education patterns. Few of the online programs are still lacking behind.

  • According to one of the surveys of some students, it was stated that nearly 60% of the students have opted for online classes.
  • However, another survey says that seven in ten students believe that it is not possible to get the true college experience through online education.
  • Also, around 80% have their perception of online education being better than offline.

With such a controversial battle between online and offline learning there comes great pressure on the university’s shoulders to improve their quality of education not only in the aspect of online learning but in for offline learning as well.

HOW CAN UNIVERSITIES IMPROVE THEIR ONLINE OFFERINGS

There arises a great need for the universities to buck up to improve the quality and availability of online education and learning to the students. The entire timeline of a student’s higher education experience should be covered by the digital offerings of the universities. Certainly, Improvements to support for online students are a win-win situation for all the students. The learning experience of every student can be improved with the help of appropriate tools and aspects especially the ones necessary for student’s success.

A. For the assistance of the universities to build a strong and reliable online learning curriculum, universities should  adopt the points necessary for the growth of any successful online higher education program. For example, A Student Support Checklist has been created by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) and the State University      System of Florida, which has given few necessary steps/points for how they can assist the students in their career success. With those points, it is assured that if the cooperation from the diverse service areas across all the institutions in achieving the new checklist will overcome the major issues being faced by the students and will help the universities to unite with the online-learner community, promising them to provide the same quality education, support, and opportunities as for the campus students. Some of the pivotal points mentioned in the checklist are given below:

  • Admissions: The appropriate campus and class information should be provided to the students via online portals comprising a virtual campus tour and an online platform for the complete interaction amongst the learner-community and the assigned faculties; making it convenient and accessible for everyone.
  • Financial Aid: The online students can be provided the opportunity to not only contact with financial aid advisers but also will be provided online tools ( like mobile services) to notify students of their options, piece of training and other useful stuff.
  • Advising: The online architecture should be in place in order to support video chat between advisers and students.
  • Library: One of the major point important for both on-campus and online students are the library resources. The universities, students should be given complete access to personnel, tutorial skills, and databases through online portals, and mobile applications.
  • Technology Support: The very necessary aspect for online learner-community is smooth technical support, especially for the students who have heavy confidence on their devices. Therefore, it is obligatory for the universities to have the help desk support and access to information on programs which the courses generally require for the successful operations and running of the online program.

B. Universities need to fulfill the demands of the students by supplying them with as many resources and opportunities available as are provided to the campus students. For example, students find the university apps and websites helpful, but they want more personalization… such aspects should be considered by the universities for the improvement of the accessibility of their online programs.

Universities should also keep in mind about assisting the students in enrolling for their first courses. For example, Institutions should make sure that the students have easy access to online enrollment tools, placement testing, degree auditing and ways to contact service centers for learning disabilities. However, these services should be available 24×7, as it will encourage the students to have thorough interaction about their academic and post-graduation goals. AI chat bots may also be used by the smaller institutions that are not able to appoint staff for the possible interactive sessions.

C. The seven key findings can also be adopted by the universities for having a positive impact on access, retention and/or academic success. In an interview with 151 participants involved in online learning at the Open University,UK; the seven key findings emerged along with major assistance from the academic, professional and management staff at 15 Australian universities. These 7 key findings came out by interviewing 151 participants and by asking them about the interventions/strategies for online students that they were using, which they thought might help their online students stay and succeed. These 7 key findings included.

  • A strategic whole-of-institution approach is needed.
  • Early intervention with students to connect, prepare and engage is crucial.
  • Teacher-presence portrays a vital role in building a sense of belonging to the learning community and in improving student retention.
  • Content, curriculum, and delivery need to be designed particularly for online learning.
  • Regular and structured contact between the institution and the student is important in administering connection and direction along the student journey.
  • Learning analytics play an important role in informing pertinent and effective student interventions.
  • Collaboration across the institution is required to integrate and embed support and assistance; delivering it to students at the point of need.

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Why IIT’s Are Failing To Woo Foreign Students? 

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If we evaluate engineering colleges in our country, the IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) are bound to be on top of the list. The Indian Institute of Technology, country’s premier Institute has fallen flat in its attempt to do a more global outlook after it failed to attract quality students from abroad. Having got the tag of the institution of eminence from the Centre, the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, has decided to double its intake of foreignstudents in the coming year. It is also looking at increasing the number of foreign students to 10% of its strength in five years.

Several IITs have been signing MoUs and establishing academic and research collaborations with foreign-based universities. But is it wooing more foreign student’s enrollment? certainly not. Fret not! Here’s the answer-

A CUMBERSOME ADMISSION PROCESS

Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) is one of the most famous Indian higher education brands outside the country. They are autonomous public institutions under the Ministry of Human Resource Development and are branded as the best Institutions in the country for engineering education and research in terms of quality and standards. While IITs have a global reputation for quality, they are nowhere on the international map. To increase our ranking around the world, drastic steps are being taken by the government.

Any candidate yearning to pursue a course at an IIT have to undertake either the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), for undergraduate students, or the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) for masters and Ph.D. applicants. To attract foreign students, IITs holds entrance tests in eight countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Singapore, and Dubai, (all SAARC countries) to select students for their undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Both these tests are considered as the toughest admission tests in the world. These admission processes for the IIT requires extensive preparation and is not conducive to attract foreign students. The Indian should be given the opportunity to compete globally with foreign students in the global market to show their worth and their talent to the world. Many foreign meritorious students are missing the opportunity due to this criterion, which is absolutely wrong from their point of view. Not only it is an injustice to these students but is also a loss for IITs and NITs; because they are missing global cream of students because of this criterion.

For more information regarding the current admission process, you can click on https://www.iitm.ac.in/content/foreign-national-admission-procedure.

The Institute needs to penetrate better among schools abroad to draw more candidates. They need to allocate funds on publicity.

 

A LOWER FELLOWSHIP FOR FOREIGN SCHOLARS  

IITs have collaborated with 200+ foreign-based Universities but that does not guarantee higher foreign enrolment. The funding from the ministry is not enough to provide competitive fellowship for foreign scholars. You must provide a higher amount of fellowship to woo foreign scholars. The funds provided to international Ph.D. candidates will be similar to those given to domestic students – about 28,000 rupees ($407) per month and free accommodation. The institution is also reportedly forming a delegation to attract faculty from eastern Europe and Russia.

 

SHORTAGE OF FUNDING FROM THE GOVERNMENT

Several IITs is aiming to sign MOU to bring in foreign students and teachers to India via dual and joint degrees and exchange programs. But to implement this they will need a surplus amount of funding. They are also devoid of separate funding to send students or teachers abroad. In a recent report of the Reserve Bank of India, it has been seen that though the spending on overseas education by Indians have increased by many folds, the investment by foreign students in India has declined substantially.

THE CURRENT FEE STRUCTURE 

The current fee structure of the foreign students is fixed Rs. 6,00,000 per annum, is 3 times that of the Indian students which is not competitive enough. In a recent meeting, the IIT Council, headed by the HRD (Human Resource Development) Minister, has come to the decision that the IITs will now be allowed to fix the fees for foreign students. It is not viable do demand such an exorbitant fee when your main plan is to attract quality students from middle and low- income countries like Africa and Asia.

However, in a recent meeting, The Indian Institute of Technologies in a move to improve international rankings and lure in students from abroad have proposed to cut the fees for foreign students. To revamp the education system and to improve the Global ranking of the Indian Institutes, the Government of India is taking steps to attract more foreign students in the next few years. Hence, the current stand to reduce the fees was the need of the hour. Beside tuition fees, the lack of adequate institutional support had always been a deterrent to attract foreign students to study in India.

Let us ponder at some important advantages of the IITs welcoming international students

  1. The induction of foreign students is being seen as a necessary move to improve the global ranking of institutions, as the Institute of eminence status is aimed at helping Indian institutions break into the global league. The various IITs should try to increase the number of foreign students and they should set a target to reach in the coming years. The QS ranking of higher education institutions across the world ranks them on five parameters — foreign faculty, foreign students, student-faculty ratio, research, and perception.

According to Department of Higher Education figures, a total of 46,144 students from 166 countries studied at Indian HEIs during 2017-18, with 63.4% hailing from just 10 countries and Nepal constituting 24.9% of the total.(http://mhrd.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/statistics/AISHE2017-18_0.pdf)

The move will also draw quality foreign professors in these institutes, which will be helpful in boosting the number of international faculties. The proportion of international students and faculties plays a crucial parameter in the International Ranking of Engineering Institutes.

  1. Internal Placements will increase as International companies will show a keen interest in these colleges.
  2. With the arrival of foreign nationals, the overall quality of research will improve. The government is quite keen on having many foreign students at IITs as it will instantly boost the country’s international academic rankings.

The government is quite keen on having many foreign students at IITs as it will instantly boost the country’s international academic rankings. So, in order to blossom as an Institute of Global Importance, IIT need to rethink their strategy and take necessary steps to woo foreign students.

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Top 5 Educational Websites for Academicians

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Top 5 Educational websites

If you wish to be the best in the game, then you need to keep technology close to you, in fact, one should make it your best friend. In the 21st century, a wise teacher is one who is capable enough to use technology in his/her classroom. Why do this? The integration of technology into the classrooms makes the classroom more engaging and is an effective way to connect with students and help them with learning new things. Not only this, it will help the teacher to be updated with tech-savvy students and ensure that the students don’t make a fool out of them. And to keep your chase short. Here are Top 5 Educational websites that will keep you updated:

Top 5 Educational Websites

EdTech:

The best about this site is the easy navigation. You can easily get access to articles related to higher education. The main focus of EdTech is to explore technology and educational issues related to  Higher education.

Websitehttps://edtechmagazine.com/higher/

Top 5 Educational Websites

Bw Education:

This website is the sister page of the website called “Business World”. It is a community for every stakeholder in the education sector. It aims to break the invisible walls between the K-12 and Higher Education and the responsibility of the society. The website provides rich insights and articles about the Higher education sector. It will help you to question things and have a new perspective.

Websitehttp://bweducation.businessworld.in/

Top 5 Educational Websites

EdSurge:

The website started in 2011 by Betsy Corcoran, Matt Bowman, Nick Punt and Agustin Vilaseca to connect the emerging community of Higher Education. They share information on various technologies, news and trends in the Edtech industry. They support teaching and learning through the use of emerging technology. Not only that, they also connect people with new job opportunities through there job boards and networks.

The website also has various investors called “Angel Investors” :

Nancy Peretsman, Judy Estrin, Dale Dougherty, Steve Blank, Gillian Munson, Kelly Pope and David Bulfer, Joe Gleberman, George Anders, Bud Colligan, Jennifer Fonstad and Martha Ehmann Conte, John Katzman, Alan Louie, Tim Ranzetta, and Lynda Weinman

Websitehttps://www.edsurge.com/