By Gaurav Raina, Assistant Professor, IIT Madras

How can Online Course Bridge the Students with Missing Links in Their Technical Education

  • The industry needs engineers who are well versed in the latest technology stacks because the technology ecosystem evolves very rapidly. However, colleges and universities do not tend to revise their course con­tent frequently which leaves many graduates without the necessary skills to succeed in the industry. There are numerous articles about how only a small fraction of our engineers are employable. Online education providers can help by bridging this gap and help students by filling the missing links in their technical education. Students can get benefitted from online courses because of the flexibility that they provide; they can be taken from the home, in free time and at a fraction of the cost for an actual degree. Online courses can be more geared towards market needs and will help to add crucial skills to their resume.

    Edu-tech providers can help both students and working professionals obtain relevant skills. There are a plenty of stories on working professionals taking an online course to enhance their skill-set. College students also need to update with industry-relevant content and, we also have examples of some MOOC providers helping them to get internships and valuable experience with real world projects.

    There is a problem of plenty in the sense that there are a lot of young, employable graduates who want jobs in the technology industry while there are very few jobs available. At the same time, industry experts complain about the lack of highly skilled talent. This report comes to the conclusion that the demand for mid-to-high skilled jobs will continue to rise. So online education providers need to understand indus­try needs and create content which will add value to our stu­dents. Courses like IMAD, which has a strong collaboration with industry partners, are a good example of how online education providers can contribute to the sector.

    Mobile phones and computing devices are becoming ubiq­uitous and increased connectivity is going to result in chang­ing patterns in all aspects of our lives, including education. We should stop viewing this as a threat to the old-fashioned classroom, but instead as an opportunity where technology can help in increasing accessibility. A good education need not be the privilege of the few who can afford it. Online education can supplement regular classrooms and provide much-needed training easily and affordably to all. The teachers should inte­grate online content and courses as part of their teaching meth­odology. I think as long as the content is useful and presented in an engaging manner, we will find that students’ attentions and outcomes will be better, especially when we combine tra­ditional and online modes of education.

    There are a lot of providers in this space, and new compa­nies will also come up. And that is great because that should lead to innovation, which is good for consumers. Demand for quality education is astronomical in India, so it's space that will see a lot of excitement. Having said that, it is rather difficult to predict, especially with edu-tech, what may happen in upcoming years.