The world’s first bi-lingual Hindi-English Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) has gone 'live' at The Australian National University.
The 10-week course, Engaging India, is a partnership between the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific and global MOOC provider edX, which was founded by American universities Harvard and MIT.
MOOCs are free courses delivered online, open to anyone around the world and aimed at unlimited participation. Engaging India already has 10,000 enrolments – roughly the size of the ANU student population.
South Asia expert and course co-convenor Dr McComas Taylor said that Engaging India will open up participants to one of the most complex and dynamic countries on the globe.
“India is more than Bollywood and cricket, the Taj Mahal and yoga. It is a vibrant, many-sided nation, with a rich history that is undergoing massive change and reasserting itself on the world stage.
“With Engaging India, we hope students are able to join us on a fascinating and rich journey through this wonderful South Asian nation and put themselves right at the centre of a country of more than 1.2 billion people and dozens of major languages.
“What’s really exciting about the course is that it is presented in both Hindi and in English, with videos featuring Hindi subtitles.
“By learning about India in both Hindi and in English, the experience becomes that much richer and authentic – you feel, breath and live India, which is a country that leaves you permanently changed once you experience it.”
Dr Peter Friedlander, who has been teaching and researching on India since 1989, said that the course will provide a rich overview of contemporary India and its place on the world stage.
“This course won’t only appeal to people outside India, but also people in India and the Indian diaspora all over the world.
“It brings together a huge range of experts from a broad set of fields to examine issues in contemporary India, ranging from technology, history, politics, language, media and economics.
“There will be plenty of opportunities for students to interact with experts in this course. Students will be able to talk with people teaching the course, and with each other.
“I can say quite literally they will be able to engage with India.”
The course has also caught the attention of edX CEO and founder Anant Agarwal, who was born in India and is now based in the United States.
“MOOCs are highly important to the future of education,” he said in a video interview at ANU.
“For more than 500 to 600 years, since the invention of the textbook, there has been no major innovation in India in terms of education.
“MOOCs bring online learning to teaching and that can bring about great improvement in education. They truly democratise education.”
Engaging India starts on Tuesday 29 April. Students can enrol online at the edX website: