MOOC: ‘Swayam’ -Spearheading the Education Revolution in India
SWAYAM is the world’s biggest MOOC platform, a program initiated by the Government of India. It is the world’s largest initiative of its kind taken by any government to consolidate the education governing bodies under one umbrella and make quality education accessible to country’s residents free of cost. The platform is developed by the Ministry of Human Resources and Development (MHRD) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) with Microsoft as a technology partner. WizIQ joined forces with Microsoft to develop and implement the platform.
The Government of India is focused on the following with this project:
- Reducing dropout rate in secondary and higher education
- Addressing inadequacy of higher education facilities in specific geographical locations
- Finding a solution for increasing cost of education
- Supporting a massive user base
- Taking education to a multi-lingual population
- Improving technology adoption across India
To know more about the platform, read an in-depth case study on Swayam here.
The platform hosts over 2,000 interactive courses taught in Indian schools and colleges from 9th grade to post-graduation with e-content of 80,000 hours to be consumed by 30 million learners for free anytime and anywhere. The initiative was designed keeping in mind the three fundamental principles – access, equality and quality of education – to bridge the gap between the privileged and the less-privileged.
SWAYAM differs from other MOOC platforms like Coursera, Udemy, Udacity, and Lynda.com in the following ways:
- The platform consolidates the apex education governing bodies in India.
- The courses offered are entirely in sync with the Indian education system. It hosts courses that are taught in physical classrooms in India.
- The earned credits are transferable to the main degree course if the candidate is enrolled in any.
Microsoft Azure’s robust and infinitely scalable cloud infrastructure with automatic load balancing offers the elasticity to scale from 1 to 1,000 in a minute ensuring flawless learning delivery to millions of concurrent users. The platform works smoothly even when traffic spikes suddenly. The auto-scale feature optimizes the cost and performance of the platform.
Microsoft played an immense role in planning the entire project, detailing time frames, tasks, resources, roles and responsibilities and platform evolution in different phases. Given its massive size and scope, the success of the project depended on a lot of planning, project governance, and review. Microsoft made sure that the investment went in the right direction.
While Microsoft was involved more in the business delivery aspects, WizIQ, on the other hand, handled the technical development and implementation of the project. WizIQ leveraged various Microsoft Azure technologies to address several potential scalability challenges and to offer the most comprehensive and integrated online education solution to the Government of India.
Advantages/Benefits of the Platform
- Scalability: WizIQ’s scalable education platform powered by Microsoft Azure ensures that millions of educators and learners use the platform seamlessly.
- Infinite Storage: WizIQ offers practically endless storage space, given the size of content (and in any format) uploaded for the mass consumption. SWAYAM users can upload content and forget about it without thinking about storage management.
- Single Sign-on: WizIQ provides a single sign-on facility to learners enrolled in courses on SWAYAM by leveraging Azure Directory Services.
- Content Access: SWAYAM administration doesn’t need to worry about the performance and consistency if traffic spikes.
- Consistent Learning Experience: WizIQ deploys certain technologies to offer a consistent experience to SWAYAM users regardless of the traffic spike.
- Search in Multiple Indian Languages: SWAYAM users can search in their mother tongue or local language apart from English. SWAYAM is the only platform offering relevant searches in multiple regional languages.
Features of the Platform
For Swayam, WizIQ created
- Dashboards: WizIQ has developed a full-fledged learner and instructor dashboard. This is the default landing page of the learner-side interface. The dashboard gives a snapshot view of the learner calendar, recent conversations, and courses. A detailed dashboard has been created for the instructors with the clickable view of the calendar, courses live, enrolled students, assignments, recent conversations and discussions.
- Course Builder Innovation: New Course Types – apart from the self-paced and scheduled courses such as the weekly reading list, articles, and invitation only courses. The section on course rating and reviews section gives a detailed view of the rating, required time to complete the course, credit information, course language, benefit, and teacher reviews. WizIQ has developed discussion boards where students can interact with fellow learners using filters like creator, tag filters, and following. The group discussion boards can be created by an instructor for discussion on a particular topic. This gives insights into student activities and how they construct responses.
- Videos: Another exciting feature is of adding captions/subtitles to videos incorporated for multi-linguistic and non-native English speakers in 9 different languages.
- Tests and Assignments: In the Tests and Assignment section, the options for flexible assignment grading criteria and auto-graded assignments based on marks awarded are added. Mandatory pre and post-course surveys are integrated into the platform to ensure the effectiveness of courses available. Tests can be graded manually, and grading can be customized as the instructor desires.
- Awarding certification: Upon completion of a course and payment of nominal fees, the learner is eligible to get a completion certificate
- Paperless Grievance Redressal Mechanism: No online education platform other than SWAYAM has a built-in grievance redressal feature which allows students to ‘raise a ticket’ if they have any issues or are not satisfied with any course.
India’s growth story is dependent on the education of its millions of youth struggling with infrastructure, cost, and resources deficit. ‘Swayam’ comes to the country at a time when India’s online market is predicted to grow to USD 1.96 billion by 2021. The user base is predicted to increase from 1.96 million users in 2016 to 9.6 million users by 2021.
WizIQ is invested in the success of this initiative with the Government of India.