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NPTEL, IBM to offer 12-week online course on Blockchain skills

The Hindu Business Line | 18 June 2018 |

Representational Image

National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) has collaborated with IBM to launch a course on Blockchain. The 12-week online course will prepare students to meet the demand for Blockchain architecture, design and use cases. Available on the NPTEL website from July, this course will prepare students to meet the demand for blockchain skills by covering both conceptual and application aspects of ​Blockchain technology, says a press release from IIT Madas.

The course, co-certified by IBM, includes fundamental design and architectural primitives of Blockchain, system and security aspects, along with various use cases from different application domains. NPTEL has recently introduced an initiative called NPTEL Industry Associate to bridge the industry-academia gap. By co-offering courses with industry leaders, NPTEL is leveraging industry expertise by conducting workshops for NPTEL certified students in niche domains and offering internships, the release said.

Blockchain Architecture Design and Use Cases

The widespread popularity of digital cryptocurrencies has led the foundation of Blockchain, which is fundamentally a public digital ledger to share information in a trustworthy and secure way. The concept and applications of Blockchain have now spread from cryptocurrencies to various other domains, including business process management, smart contracts, IoT and so on.  This course is a joint venture from academia and industry, where the target is to cover both the conceptual as well as application aspects of Blockchain. This includes the fundamental design and architectural primitives of Blockchain, the system and the security aspects, along with various use cases from different application domains.

Note: Content is Free!  All content including discussion forum and assignments, is free

Final Exam (in-person, invigilated, currently conducted in India) is mandatory for Certification and has INR Rs. 1100 as exam fee


ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:   Prof. Sandip Chakraborty &  Dr. Praveen Jayachandran

Click here to view the course details – https://onlinecourses.nptel.ac.in/noc18_cs47/preview /      https://onlinecourses.nptel.ac.in/


UGC allows top universities and colleges to offer online degree courses

Deccan herald | Prakash Kumar | DH News Service, New Delhi | May 24 2018 |

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has approved the UGC (Online Courses) regulations for degrees in non-technical disciplines. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has approved the UGC (Online Courses) regulations for degrees in non-technical disciplines. (Representative image) In a landmark reform, universities and higher educational institutions from this academic session will be able to offer graduate, postgraduate and diploma programmes online in non-technical disciplines. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has approved the UGC (Online Courses) regulations for such degrees. The regulations will be made applicable from the academic session 2018-19, the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry said in a statement on Thursday. The higher education institutions, which have been in existence for at least five years and are accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) with a valid minimum score of 3.26 on a 4-point scale will be eligible to start online courses. Institutions willing to offer online courses under the UGC regulations should also be listed in the top-100 in overall category in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) for at least two years, a UGC official said.

However, NAAC and NIRF conditions shall not be applicable to existing government open universities till NAAC or similar accreditation system or NIRF are made available. The move is aimed at increasing the gross enrollment ratio (GER) in higher education from the current 25.2% to at least 30% by 2022. As per the regulations, the higher educational institutions can offer certificate, diploma and degree programmes in full-fledged online mode in only those disciplines in which it has already been offering the same or similar programmes or courses at graduation level in regular mode of classroom teaching or in open and distance learning mode, the official said. Online programmes requiring practicals or laboratory courses as a curricular requirement shall not be permitted. The examinations of the students to be enrolled in the online courses will be conducted in proctored mode and in conformity with any norms for such examinations stipulated by the Commission. The online learning shall have minimum four quadrants: video lectures, e-content, self-assessment and discussion forum to clarify doubts, the official added. Aadhaar and Passport shall be used to authenticate the Indian and foreign students respectively for all online interactions including teaching-learning and examinations. The learners engagement will be monitored via participation in asynchronous or synchronous discussions, assignment activity and programme involvement. The analytics of learning management system shall be used for ensuring the learners participation at least for two hours every fortnight, the official added. UGC Online course. – Courtesy

To stay in demand, Hyderabad IT crowd takes to online blended courses

The New Indian Express | 23rd May 2018 |

According to techies and facilitators, will bridge the gap in easy understanding of complex concepts by clarification of doubts through a classroom teaching methodology.

Representational Images

HYDERABAD: It has almost become a norm for a majority of technology professionals to improve their skills to stay relevant and dodge the scare of layoff  but, of late, several techies in the city have been looking beyond online courses to stay in demand. The latest — blended courses or hybrid programs, a mix of online and classroom training, have taken the frenzy among the techies of the city who are, especially, interested to  learn complex subjects like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine  Learning (ML) and Big Data Analytics. This, according to techies and facilitators, will bridge the gap in easy understanding of complex concepts by clarification of doubts through a classroom teaching  methodology. For G Akshai, an associate director of an MNC in health care sector, who completed an online study course from Coursera and other online educational platforms, felt there was a vacuum when it came to clarification of doubts about  online courses. “The research to be done and to understand the concepts of online curriculum, especially ML, was that I had to extensively rely on Google and watch several tutorial  videos. There is no feedback either,” said Akshai who is doing  a one-year PG course in Big Data Analytics and Machine Learning through blended  learning.

Many of the online courses are promoted to have self-learning as a key factor but when it comes to diving into new technologies, it does not always work as learning abilities differ from  person to person, observes Mohan Lakhamraju, founder and CEO of Great  Learning. “For students to learn robust topics which are  challenging and complex, there needs a guidance from experts and an  effective way to do so is to blend learning with online and classroom  teaching. The physical presence of a professor interacting with the  student and a proven curriculum is always advantageous to clarify doubts  that arise in online learning,” Lakhamraju said, adding, “Through our  research, we understood that the pre-recorded videos module magnifies  scepticism among students which does not make people students to be  confident in what they are learning.” Education entrepreneurs are not convinced about the blended learning module and still feel that online learning will continue to dominate the way  tech professionals learn. “In today’s life, many people don’t have  the time to attend traditional classes, especially, IT professionals  who are already working and cannot be physically present,” said Vineet Chaturvedi, co-founder, Edureka. But, several reports  suggest the course completion rate in online courses or Massive Open  Online Courses is low due to shortcomings which include  efficacy of learning module.  – Courtesy

At google.ai, study Machine Learning for free

ZeeBiz WebDesk | Mon, Mar 05, 2018 |  ZeeBiz WebTeam |

‘Learn with Google AI’ consists of exercises, interactive visualizations and modules, and instructional videos as well. The course is listed as approximately 15 hours which have over 40 exercises included. The tech giant stated that the engineering education team originally developed the fast-paced, practical introduction to ML fundamentals for Googlers.

Technology and search engine giant Google has now introduced an easy-to-learn platform called ‘Learn with Google AI’. This is available at At google.ai for free. This comprises a set of educational resources developed by Machine Learning experts at the company to help people learn about concepts, develop skills and apply artificial intelligence to problems in real life. When you go to the page on google.ai, it indicates the programme’s utility by saying, “Whether you’re just learning to code or you’re a seasoned machine learning practitioner, you’ll find information and exercises in this resource center to help you develop your skills and advance your projects.” Google in its blog said, “To help everyone understand how AI can solve challenging problems, we’ve created a resource called Learn with Google AI. This site provides ways to learn about core ML concepts, develop and hone your ML skills, and apply ML to real-world problems. From deep learning experts looking for advanced tutorials and materials on TensorFlow, to “curious cats” who want to take their first steps with AI, anyone looking for educational content from ML experts at Google can find it here.” So far, more than 18,000 Googlers have reportedly enrolled in MLCC, applying lessons from the course to enhance camera calibration for Daydream devices, build virtual reality for Google Earth, and improve streaming quality at YouTube.

‘Learn with Google AI’ consists of exercises, interactive visualizations and modules, and instructional videos as well. The course is listed as approximately 15 hours which have over 40 exercises included. The tech giant stated that the engineering education team originally developed the fast-paced, practical introduction to ML fundamentals for Googlers.  Recently, the tech firm launched an artificial intelligence research center in China. The research center is the first of its kind in Asia and will comprise a small team operating out of its existing office in Beijing, Google said in a statement. Chinese policy makers have reportedly voiced strong support for AI research and development in the country, and have imposed increasingly strict rules on foreign firms in the past year, including new censorship restrictions.  It may be noted that Google’s search engine is banned in the Chinese market along with its app store, email and cloud storage services. –  Courtesy      /       https://ai.google/education/

NPTEL, IIT Madras collaborate with Glass Academy Foundation

Economic Times | Anandi Chandrashekhar | ET Bureau| Feb 23, 2018 |

CHENNAI: IIT Madras to provide content for course, which is first-of-its-kind to be offered as a MOOCs in an open learning mode in India. The National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) has tied up with the glass Industry to reach out to upcoming architects and civil engineers to create awareness on efficient use of glass in the construction sector. NPTEL in partnership with Indian Institute of Technology Madras, aims to take this course to 1,600 colleges and educational institutions in the country. NPTEL and IIT Madras, entered into an MoU with Glass Academy Foundation on 20th February 2018 signed by Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, and C. N. Raghavendran, Chairman of Glass Academy Advisory Board. Along with other IITs, IIT Madras will provide content for the course, which will be offered as a Massive Online Open Course, in a first of its kind initiative. Andrew Thangaraj, NPTEL coordinator at IIT Madras, said, Collaborating with the industry is the next step for NPTEL to bridge the gap between academia and industry and make college graduates more job ready.

The first joint activity would be to co-offer online certification courses in the July-Dec 2018 Semester, targeted towards Architecture and Civil Engineering students. The possibility of offering internships and job opportunities to top performers of the course(s) are also being explored. The perfect home at the perfect price Radius Developers Senior citizen benefits in budget 2018 UTI Mutual Fund Recommended By Colombia Speaking on objective of the tie-up, CN Raghavendran said, Traditional materials have been the subject of study and training for decades. However, modern day glass as a material in construction is yet to become a subject of study and training in academic institutions. Our association with NPTEL will strengthen further by co-offering and co-certifying our courses as an elective to Architecture and Civil Engineering students. – Courtesy       /      http://www.glass-academy.com/

Online degree in non-technical courses soon to be recognised in India

The Hindu | NEW DELHI | January 16, 2018 |  Online degree in non-tech courses |

Javadekar says only universities with high NAAC scores will get permission

The Centre would soon finalise regulations enabling universities with high National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) scores to offer degree, certificate and diploma courses for non-technical subjects in online mode. Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar said this to newspersons after the culmination of the 65th Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) meet here. Only institutions with a NAAC grade of A plus and A plus plus – meaning, a NAAC score of 3.26 or above on a scale of 4 – would be permitted to start these courses, which would essentially be open and distance learning in online mode. “The UGC will approve their course structure. There will be online lectures, tutorials and also a weekly online discussion forum where professors will answer queries of the enrolled candidates,” Mr. Javadekar said. “There will be an online examination in six months or one year. They will be granted certificates if they pass.” He said this would open an additional choice for people who want to earn degrees, certificates or diplomas, but cannot enrol for regular courses.

Insisting that this would not entail a decline in the level of education, he said only institutes with proven credentials would be permitted to run these courses. An official of the MHRD said there was a possibility that the regulations would separate the existent open and distance learning courses from courses in the online mode. While existent distance learning courses were subject to territorial jurisdictions of the universities concerned, the very nature of online education would mean freeing up these courses from such constraints. Mr. Javadekar also said that the CABE had resolved to increase Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education from the present 25.2-% to 30-32-% in five years. It was believed that online education would help improve enrolment figures. –  Courtesy

Online courses  – The Telegraph, Basant Kumar Mohanty Jan 17, 2018

New Delhi: The Centre announced on Tuesday that universities would be allowed to offer courses online, including those programmes that award degrees, at a time enthusiasm for such a mode is on the wane the world over. HRD minister Prakash Javadekar announced that the University Grants Commission would soon issue a regulation to allow universities to offer all academic programmes online. The UGC had in 2016 permitted universities to offer 20 per cent of any course through the online mode. “A regulation will be issued to allow universities to offer online courses. Universities can start degree-level and diploma-level courses,” Javadekar said. He said only those universities whose accreditation score from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council was above 3.25 could allow online courses. Only non-technical courses will be allowed online.

“It will be the choice of the university (what programmes they want to start online),” Javadekar said. The International Trends in Higher Education Report 2015 published by Oxford University had said that enthusiasm for the Massive Open Online Courses was decreasing. “Several years after MOOCs entered the public domain, enthusiasm is beginning to wane. MOOC enrolment is high, but student retention and completion rates are low,” the report said. Asked about the success of online courses globally, Javadekar said: “Yes they have been successful.” – Courtesy

Infosys to Train Employees in Self-Driving Car Engineering

News 18 Tech | November 16, 2017 | IANS |

The programme, known as Udacity Connect, a combined in-person and online training offering, will give Infosys employees the skills needed as the company continues to focus on autonomous technology across a range of industries, including automotive, manufacturing and mining.

IT major Infosys on Thursday announced a plan to train its employees in self-driving car engineering technology in partnership with online learning company Udacity. The programme, known as Udacity Connect, a combined in-person and online training offering, will give Infosys employees the skills needed as the company continues to focus on autonomous technology across a range of industries, including automotive, manufacturing and mining, the IT major said in a statement.

The 20-week curriculum will train Infosys employees on engineering technologies for self-driving vehicles, including advanced courses in deep learning and machine learning. “The goal of this programme is to train 500 engineers by the end of 2018,” Infosys said. “Infosys is committed to re-skilling and training its employees in groundbreaking technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and autonomous technologies,” said Ravi Kumar S., President and Deputy Chief Operating Officer at Infosys. “We are proud to expand our partnership with Udacity with the launch of the in-person and online Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree programme as we accelerate the pace of skill adoption and ensure our clients continue to be at the forefront of innovation,” he added. – Courtesy    /     Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree – Applications end at 11:59PM on November 19. Classroom opens on December 14, Nanodegree program applications are open! Click here to apply…

MOOCs: The new generation learning

Digital Learning | | Archana Thakur | Opinion |


MOOCs provide an affordable and flexible way to learn new skills, advance your career and deliver quality educational experiences at scale, writes Archana Thakur, Joint Secretary, University Grants Commission (UGC), how MOOCs is helping students in their learning for Elets News Network (ENN). Gone are the years when whatever we learnt in school or colleges used to get stuck with  us throughout our working life.  The rapid pace of technological advancement has turned constant learning as the most pressing need of the day and for this the massivee open online courses (MOOCs) have been adequately equipped to address and help in it. MOOCs have been one of the most hotly-debated topics in the education circles over the past few years. Opinions have been extremely polarising, with some people heralding it as the greatest leap for education since the invention of the printing press, and some dismissing it as another fad. MOOC is an online course which aims unlimited participation and open access via the web. The first MOOCs emerged from the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement. The term MOOC was coined in 2008 by Dave Cormier of the University of Prince Edward Island in response to a course called Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (also known as CCK08). CCK08, which was led by George Siemens of Athabasca University and Stephen Downes of the National Research Council, consisted  25 tuition-paying students in Extended Education at the University of Manitoba, as well as over 2,200 online students from the general public who were studying free of cost.

This provides interactive user forums to support community interactions among students, professors, and teaching assistants. MOOCs are widely researched development in distance education introduced in the US in 2006 for the first time. It emerged as a popular mode of learning in 2012. According to The New York Times, 2012 became “The Year MOOC”. MOOCs did not rely on posted resources, learning management systems, and video lectures. Instead it uses structures that mixed the learning management system with more open web resources. MOOCs are of two distinct types: one of them emphasises the connectivist philosophy and other resembles to more traditional courses. Stephen Downes proposed the terms “cMOOC” and “xMOOC” to distinguish in between them. The principle on which cMOOCs are based is of connectivist pedagogy indicating that material should be aggregated rather than pre-selected, remixable, re-purposable and feeding forward. It tries to connect learners to each other to answer questions emphasising collaborative development of the MOOC. MOOCs have a much more traditional course structure typically with a clearly specified syllabus of recorded lectures and self-test problems. The instructor is the expert provider of knowledge, and student interactions are usually limited to asking for assistance and advising each other on difficult points. MOOCs are becoming popular as they offer university-level courses without the need to complete an entire programme of studies. Students get the opportunity to study high quality courses online with prestigious universities, often free of cost. Users can select courses from any institution offering them independently. Video-based study offer interaction either through peer review and group collaboration or automated feedback through objective, online assessments. EdX is a non-for-profit provider, created by Harvard and MIT universities. Now extended to the Australian National University, TU Delft (theNetherlands), and Rice, Berkeley and Georgetown universities in the US.  Around the world, other MOOC providers include EduKart in India, ALISON in Ireland, and Aprentica in Latin America.

The reasons behind considering MOOC are:

         i.            Quality courses with low cost,

       ii.            Can be studied in combination with other work and

      iii.            Study resources are easily accessed from any computer at any location through web.

MOOCs can generate affective learning through four pathways or mechanisms:

  1. Sharing instructor enthusiasm.
  2. Discussion on controversial topics.
  • Exposure to diversity.
  1. Experiencing innovative teaching approaches.

The disadvantages are that while most courses are free, some are fee-paying and videos are normally short, drop-out rates are high – up to 90%. These rates are marginally lower for paid-for courses. A reasonable degree of computer literacy is needed. Many of the MOOC users are graduates seeking to top up their skills and competences. MOOCs do not feed into a degree or other qualification but are self-contained. Only a few students complete the courses. Content of MOOC offered by other country may not match the culture and condition of the home country of the student accessing the course.

 Advantages of MOOCs over physical colleges and universities are-

  • Scaling up the course batch size is a few clicks away.
  • Thousands of young minds can be guided by an emeritus tutor.
  • Self-paced study enables student to study and learn at their own leisurely rate.
  • Online courses can help mitigate and remove all systemic barriers, thus truly making education a universally available resource.

Three of the most pressing critiques of an open learning system are (a) lack of an effective system to measure and validate the progress of the learners, (b) how to integrate the course credits into the present system so that it counts towards a degree from a college, and (c) how to ensure personalised guidance and mentorship. However, all these are resolvable as having certain multiple choices questions at the end of each session to evaluate the understanding of the learner and a few universities have started launching their full-fledged courses online or allowing certain validated MOOCs to contribute credits to their physical courses. In India, SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) was launched on 15 August 2016 which is an information technology platform. It aims at providing high quality education on various subjects from school level (class IX-XII) to under graduate and post graduate students, covering all disciplines is a new portal for MOOC. SWAYAM is a programme designed to achieve the three cardinal principles of Education Policy viz., access, equity and quality.

The objective of this effort is to take the best teaching learning resources to all, including the most disadvantaged. SWAYAM seeks to bridge the digital divide for students who have hitherto remained untouched by the digital revolution and have not been able to join the mainstream of the knowledge economy. To ensure best quality content are produced and delivered, seven National Coordinators have been appointed. They are NPTEL for engineering,  UGC for post-graduation education, CEC for under-graduate education, NCERT & NIOS for school education, IGNOU for out of the school students and IIMB for management studies. SWAYAM platform is indigenously developed by Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) with the help of Microsoft and would be ultimately capable of hosting 2000 courses and 80,000 hours of learning: covering school, under-graduate, post-graduate, engineering, law and other professional courses. It is thus anticipated that MOOCs impact is going to be felt strongly on the education system in India not only in improving standards and availability of quality education in all fields, on the click of a button but also granting affordability of learning science for students from rural background or colleges in remote areas with paucity of competent science instructors.

Khan Academy to create educational videos in Indian languages

Live Mint | Sarah Zia | 01 November 2017 |

Khan Academy, the online provider of educational videos, is expected to release content in Gujarati, Bengali and Hindi by 2018

New Delhi: Khan Academy, a non-profit education organisation, is set to launch content in Indian languages. By 2018, the online provider of educational videos is expected to release content in Gujarati, Bengali and Hindi. “Currently, the content on Khan Academy’s portal which is also tailored to the Indian curriculum is available in English,” said Sandeep Bapna, managing director, Khan Academy India. “The vernacular content will not be dubbed but will be recustomised in local languages to tap the hinterland market in India.” To this end, Khan Academy entered into an agreement with the Karnataka government which will be recreating the content in Kannada for use across government schools in the state. According to Bapna, collaborating with the state government is one of the fastest ways of scaling the content available on the portal in local languages. “This content will be hosted on sub-domains and students can choose whether they would prefer content in English or their mother tongue,” he added.

Explaining the need for recreating the content in local languages, Bapna said that this was not just a content library but more like a personalized tutor. “The portal has content which tracks a user’s progress and suggests recommendations accordingly with the audio in the background sounding like one’s friend,” he elaborated. ile the portal provides content related to maths, science and engineering, computing, arts and humanities, economics and finance as well as preparatory material for tests such as SAT and GMAT, only the maths and physics content has been mapped to the Indian curriculum. This includes roughly 5,500 videos and over 20,000 exercises across the two subjects. “While the focus is on maths and physics currently, we plan to map other subjects such as social science as well to the Indian curriculum By the end of 2018,” said Bapna.  An estimated 1 million users from India access the content on Khan Academy. The content is also accessible over the app where users can access low-bandwidth videos.  Further, the second edition of an India Talent Search has been launched to scout for content creators in English, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi and Tamil. The search is aimed at identifying those who could create lucid explanatory videos for complex concepts. “We are not going to judge entry videos for production values but on how one chooses to explain a concept,” said Bapna. The last date for sending entries is 17 December. – Courtesy

UK University Birmingham launches language course for India’s future engineers

Birmingham launches language course for future engineers

Dr Tim Jackson, Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering

Engineering students around the globe have the opportunity to sign up for the University of Birmingham’s new online training that will help them improve their technical English language skills – free-of-charge. The University’s ‘Electrical Engineering: Sensing, Powering and Controlling’ course aims to support students for whom English is a second language in mastering many of the key terms and concepts in Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering. Birmingham’s new MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is based on real first-year modules at the University. Students can sign up for the free course at www.futurelearn.com/courses/electrical-engineering/1

The MOOC is aimed at direct entry students planning to attend Birmingham to study in the discipline of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering, but the content is helpful to any student planning to start in the first year of any engineering discipline. The three-week course runs from 13 November and has been developed by the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. It is led by Dr Tim Jackson, Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering. Dr Jackson said: “This is a great opportunity for students whose first language is not English to brush up their language skills and get to grips with the key terms and concepts associated with engineering. “The course will be delivered in English to help students to gradually develop their language skills. Students can learn online at their own pace, and there are opportunities to discuss their work online with fellow students and lecturers.”

Topics covered will include:

• Overview of Electrical, Electronic and Systems Engineering
• Transducers and their purpose
• Electronic systems in context
• Solar power / batteries in space
• The Space Weather research group
• Electrical circuits
• Analogue and digital electrical engineering

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

• Investigate what is meant by electronic, electrical and systems engineering.
• Develop their skills in analysing and designing circuits and systems.
• Improve their confidence in communicating engineering ideas using English technical vocabulary.
• Assess how different electronic and electrical engineering systems are used in specific contexts.

For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Tony Moran in the University of Birmingham press office on +44 (0)121 414 8254 / +44 (0)782 783 2312.

Notes to editors

• The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries. –  Watch the Video