Expanding access and inclusion: IIT Roorkee reaches a global audience with its new online data science program

By Professor Ajit Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Roorkee and Betty Vandenbosch, Chief Content Officer, Coursera

More than three-quarters of university leaders are expanding access to online learning after the pandemic by offering more online learning options, including stackable credentials and degree programs for nontraditional students. In India, this global trend is propelled by the National Education Policy (NEP), which encourages Indian universities to build online programs and expand access.

As a leading education institution in India, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee partnered with Coursera in August 2020 — two months after the NEP was approved. Through the partnership, IIT Roorkee aspired to fulfill the goal of inclusive education and reach a global audience of students and professionals.

IIT Roorkee became the first Indian public technical university to offer postgraduate certificate programs on Coursera, and the institute is already reaching students around the world. More than half (55%) of the students in IIT Roorkee’s Post Graduate Certificate in Data Science and Machine Learning are from outside India. Students span 14 countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia. Over a quarter of the program’s students are from the United States. Within India, the program also has a wide reach, drawing learners from 11 states.

Our partnership demonstrates how we can increase equitable access to high-quality, job-relevant education for all learners, regardless of location. As students embrace online learning as the new normal, Coursera data shows that students interested in degrees are most concerned with affordability and accredited programs – university location is the least important factor. Students are eager to learn the skills needed to succeed in the digital economy from world-leading institutions.

University partnerships such as this can also help address local skill shortages, creating a path to make many more citizens job-ready. IIT Roorkee’s program addresses a critical skill gap, as demand for data science professionals surges in India. When students learn leading digital skills asynchronously, they also learn the soft skills needed to succeed in a remote workforce — by mastering independent work while simultaneously collaborating with global peers.

Online learning from leading universities such as IIT Roorkee can be a powerful enabler to democratizing opportunity in a post-pandemic era — by meeting the needs of employers and making citizens career ready. We are at a pivotal point in this journey. Together, we look forward to scaling life-transforming access and opportunities for learners everywhere.

The post Expanding access and inclusion: IIT Roorkee reaches a global audience with its new online data science program appeared first on Coursera Blog.

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