MOOCs, YouTube and GitHub – what’s missing?


Guest Blog by: Namya Giridhar, Student

MOOC courses are extremely popular among the masses. Quality content from the luxury of your homes or wherever on Earth you reside. All you must do is to register and start viewing the course content. Sometimes, pay for a month or even annually. Since it is the era of the coronavirus, we are all practically under house arrest, the best would be to binge-watch Netflix, but some choose otherwise. Some academically oriented citizens would also probably enrol themselves into online courses, considering that it is best to do it now, Ask me why. The answer is simple, well a lot of premier courses are going out for free, make hay while the sunshine would be my answer.

Coming to the point of what I really wanted to convey is that, these MOOC courses are a great deal of information and knowledge. Considering the ‘hoarding of courses people are doing right now’ like binge-watching MOOC courses, well how long will that be remembered, I will ask. Let us consider a case when things were normal, on average you might spend an hour or two every week on finishing the course, by the end of a month or a few months, you might be done. But the burning question is, how much of what you learned will you remember?

Only if you are dedicated enough and manage to finish all the assignments a certificate of completion will be awarded. Well, this certification is a mere symbol of completion. But did you learn? And will you remember what the course taught you? I doubt it.

So my idea is to INTRODUCE a HANDS-ON lab and provide access to the software being used side by side with every video lecture so it is easy for learners to try and experiment with what they learn, in addition to the end to topic assignment. You know practice makes perfect.

There is room for learners to try, and experiment with new things. This in my opinion will truly increase the demand and popularity of these courses.

So, it is a win-win situation for both, the users, and the course providers, considering the knowledge gain and experience for the former and the financial gains for the latter.

Take this as a humble request from my side speaking out for those millions who are unable to gain the most from these courses, due to the inability to set up a practice environment or for any other reason, certifying a person based on the scores secured in a bunch of quizzes is not an indication of the caliber or the technical skills a person possesses. This is a serious issue, considering that these certifications are leveraged by applicants in applying for jobs, this will pose a threat to the industry, so please think over and try to analyze what I am emphasizing on.

Well, let alone MOOC courses, even YouTube for that matter, there are a gazillion tutorials and videos providing content for free, yet this is not beneficial to the majority of users, including me, as you may lack the tools needed to implement or practice the same, your PC’s may not be compatible, might not have enough space or what if you wanted to learn something using your phone, the ability to support all these demands must be our next line of thinking? Yes, GitHub links are provided to access the code files and blah blah but that is not enough, also it is just too much effort. Find a video that suits your needs, then find the link to the repo, then clone it, then get the necessary support and then implement it,

Well this is a very long story, and sometimes might not even have a happy ending, so that’s why I propose this idea of HANDS-ON LABS, you will be just a click away… and boom you are in the editor with the code you need to implement.

What about GITHUB, well no complaints when it comes to how your code and ideas are stored and recorded, with public and private repos and blah blah blah. But coming to the point again, no practical demonstrations, well yes, yesterday in the virtual stream event, code spaces were announced but what if your demand is more than that, then that is not satisfied right?

So, we need something better, maybe a full-featured HANDS-ON LAB? Is anyone listening?

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