IIT-KGP to help eastern India students learn more about free online courses

Kolkata The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur will approach institutes of higher education in eastern India to familiarise students and teachers with free online courses offered by National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL).

NPTEL, a joint initiative of the IITs and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, offers 160 courses in various categories like agriculture, computer science, management studies, mathematics and basic science, engineering and humanities.

While over five5 lakh students had enrolled for NPTEL courses this year, only about 7% of them were from Eastern India.

“The biggest problem for NPTEL courses is that not only the students from eastern India, but also the colleges and universities in the region are not aware of it,” Anupam Basu, coordinator of NPTEL at IIT-KGP, said.

Students from eastern India will be familiarised with free online courses offered by the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL).

“We are sure if people get to know about the facility and that it is encouraged by AICTE and UGC, there will be many takers,” said Basu, also professor of computer science and engineering.

Too boost enrolments from the region, IIT-KGP is talking to various institutes of West Bengal, Odisha and northeastern states to offer credit transfers to the students, an IIT-KGP spokesperson said.

For West Bengal, IIG-KGP would approach the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology (formerly West Bengal University of Technology), while talks are on with general degree colleges like Vidyasagar College and Gokhale Memorial Girls’ College of Kolkata.

Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST), Jadavpur University and and Presidency University would also be approached, the spokesperson said.

IIT-KGP has also approached most of the private engineering colleges in Bengal.

A workshop with over 100 teachers from various private engineering colleges was held at IIT-KGP recently. PTI SUS NN SBN

Musicians Institute Launches Online Courses Taught by Music Legends

The prestigious Musicians Institute, established in 1977 in LA and built on the idea that musicians should teach and learn from other musicians, is launching online courses for the first time in its history on Monday, July 17.

MI Online (MIO) is open to students around the world and includes exclusive online programs from jazz, blues, and rock guitar legend, Scott Henderson, and twisted guitar master, Oz Noy, with their unique approaches to guitar improvisation.

Other courses launching include ‘Intro to DJing’ by Musicians Institute Program Chair, Charles Chemery, and foundational music courses ‘Harmony and Theory Fundamentals’ and ‘Ear Training Fundamentals’, with a larger, specialized catalogue to come.

The 10-week courses, priced at $799, will provide a mix of pre-recorded video lessons, weekly assignments, and Live Lectures that use innovative streaming technology, all online. With small-sized classes capped at 20 students, MI Online’s highly interactive, feature-rich Learning Management System (LMS) allows students to engage in discussions and lectures with their classmates and instructors. Students will receive personalized feedback from their instructors, all of whom are accomplished musicians and Musicians Institute faculty. The course content is artist-driven, designed to help students gain real-world musical skills and training.

Inside MI Online’s virtual classrooms, students will either be required to record themselves performing for assignments and/or complete quizzes. The instructor will then review their work and provide feedback. Students who achieve grades of 70 percent or above will then be awarded an MI Online Certificate of Accomplishment.

Musicians Institute Launches Online Courses Taught by Music Legends

Donny Gruendler, President at Musicians Institute, comments, “MI Online makes it simple and accessible for anyone, anywhere—even at home in your underwear—to learn different musical areas and techniques through cutting-edge music tuition online. For nearly 40 years, MI has proudly welcomed new musicians and creative entrepreneurs into our community, and we’re excited about this next stage in our journey. As a member of the MI Online collective, students will join a dynamic worldwide community that fosters endless opportunities, whilst participating in courses that are designed and delivered by music legends.”

Enrollment is open and available to students all around the world. To try free video lessons from MI Online’s new online courses, please visit the following URLs:

Scott Henderson’s approach to guitar improvisation
Learn guitar improvisation techniques online and become a better artist with jazz, rock and blues guitar legend Scott Henderson. Explore how to apply diatonic scales, Scott’s approaches to fretboard organization and much more.

Oz Noy’s Twisted Guitar Improvisation
Join master guitarist Oz Noy in this 10-week online course, and learn about the uniquely crafted techniques including tonality, fretboard organization, jumping intervals, voice leading double stops, pentatonic bending points, and more.

Intro to DJing
Become an artist, fuel your love of music and learn how to develop your DJing skills with MI Online’s online DJ course for beginners, written by celebrated DJ and industry veteran Charlie Sputnik.

Harmony & Theory Fundamentals
Master music fundamentals online with MI Online’s Harmony and Theory Fundamentals course. In this online music theory course, presented by Mark Cally, you will learn about basic symbols and notation, the musical alphabet, major scale construction, key signatures, triads and much more.

Ear Training Fundamentals
Start your artistic journey with MI Online’s Ear Training Fundamentals course. Throughout this online course, you will constantly and consistently train your ear to identify pitch, major scales, melodies and much more.


If IIMs cannot offer online course, something is really wrong with Indian education system

Just when it appeared the government was readying to reduce its chokehold on education by giving both colleges and universities more freedom in setting academic and other standards as long as they met certain quality standards, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has come out with new regulations that suggest it is in no mood to let go. The UGC’s new rules on distance education, for instance, stipulate that only recognised universities or deemed-to-be-universities would be allowed to offer such courses. So, an ISB or an IIM, for instance, will not be able to offer distance learning programmes under the new regulations. Apart from the fact that the UGC seems to place great faith in universities, it is not clear why it has come out with these rules since there is already a National Assessment and Accreditation Council in place to rate all institutions based on their faculty, curriculum, etc. If, in addition, standardised SAT/GRE-type examinations are available, that will also help in the ranking of institutions. Any college/institution that has a good rank should then be free to offer various courses. Keep in mind that an ISB that did not even get government accreditation has a lot more credibility among employers than several accredited colleges/universities. The IIMs, similarly, were not allowed to offer ‘degrees’ thanks to antiquated rules, but this has not affected their standing in either India or overseas.

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Indeed, once there is transparent, and independent, scoring of institutions, this will be a better check on quality than can possibly be done by the rules being put in place by UGC. Looking at video feeds of examination halls, and mandating that examinations be held in government schools as is being suggested by UGC will be unnecessary if those giving such degrees are ranked—any institution that thrives on cheating will automatically score lower marks and that, in turn, will affect its ability to attract students. UGC just needs to look at the track record of colleges/universities certified by it to know this. It is especially ironic that UGC should be looking at putting curbs on distance learning just when MOOC are becoming increasingly popular for a variety of reasons including the fact that, if continuing education has to be the norm, this cannot be provided by existing colleges and universities—Coursera already has 2 million Indian students and edX has just over 1 million. Students are gravitating towards these institutions because they are recognised as providers of good quality course, not because they are UGC-certified. Once government certification becomes the main criterion for being able to run an institution, people learn how to game the system; rankings based on constant evaluation of marks/alumni/faculty, etc, keep institutions in check like nothing else.


Mumbai student scores 99.6%, but error in online form will cost her a seat in college of her choice

Despite scoring 99.6% in the SSC exams, a Kandivli student will not get admission to the first year junior college (FYJC) of her choice. Why? She listed only one college in her option form, as she was unaware of how to go about the process.

She listed Thakur College, Kandivli, but wants admission to NM College, Vile Parle — an institute she might have gotten into owing to her high score.

Mumbai city news

Her mistake means she will now be allotted Thakur College in the first merit list.

According to admission rules, it is mandatory for students to accept if they are allotted their first preference.

“Having scored 99.6%, the girl could have easily secured admission to any college, but she made a mistake in her application form, which cannot be corrected now,” said a senior education officer, addressing admission-related grievances.

The department has advised the student to reapply for admission through management quota.

Online retail giant Amazon invests Rs 1,680 crore in India

Amazon, the world’s biggest online retailer, has invested another Rs 1,680 crore in its Indian unit as part of its commitment to invest $5 billion to expand its local business, which is locked in a battle with arch-rival Flipkart to dominate what is seen as the world’s last major unconquered Internet market.

Amazon Seller Services Pvt Ltd (Amazon India) received the funds last month, according to regulatory documents filed with the ministry of corporate affairs. In June 2016, Amazon.com Inc had said it would invest an additional $3 billion in India after the company exhausted its earlier investment pledge of $2 billion made in 2014.

Since Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos made that initial $2 billion investment commitment in July 2014, Amazon India has already received more than Rs15,000 crore.

Amazon has been spending all that cash on building massive warehouses, a large logistics unit, marketing, discounts and increasing product assortment. The company boasts of the largest product assortment, the most expansive supply chain and the largest seller base among e-commerce firms in India.

Mint reported in April last year that Amazon India, which was launched in June 2013, had doubled its authorized capital to roughly about Rs16,000 crore. Since then, Amazon has invested twice in its Indian marketplace — a Rs 2,010-crore infusion in December last year and the latest in June.


The company’s authorised capital was just Rs 1,500 crore in July 2014, when Bezos made the $2-billion commitment.

Amazon’s aggressive investment in its India business is matched by Flipkart’s own capital-raising prowess.

In April, Flipkart raised as much as $1.4 billion in fresh capital from new strategic investors comprising China’s Tencent Holdings, eBay and Microsoft. Flipkart, which has raised more than $4.6 billion since starting out in 2007, is preparing to buy out smaller rival Snapdeal as part of a proposed deal aimed to get further investments from Snapdeal’s largest investor SoftBank.

“We remain committed to our India business with a long-term perspective to make e-commerce a habit for Indian customers and to invest in the necessary technology and infrastructure to grow the entire ecosystem,” said an Amazon India spokeswoman.

Amazon’s massive investment has yielded immediate results for the American e-commerce giant. Though Flipkart continues to be the overall market leader, including sales from its Myntra and Jabong units, Amazon India is catching up fast. Amazon is desperate to conquer the Indian Internet market, after losing out to Alibaba.com in China.