Aligarh Muslim University with Fourteen Online Study Programs

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Of all the central institutions, Aligarh Muslim University offers the most online degree programs.

Aligarh-AMU Muslim University

NEW DELHI: The list of universities authorized by the University Grants Commission to launch online degree programs includes more than 40 institutions, but only four of them are central universities. Among these, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in Uttar Pradesh offers most undergraduate and postgraduate programs – in Business (BCom and MCom) and BA and MA in Economics, History, Political Science, English, Urdu, and Hindi.

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None of these programs have been launched yet, but AMU has started preparing for online education even before COVID-19 begins to sweep across the country, said Nafees Ansari, director of the Center for Distance and Online Education. The CDOE began as the Distance learning center to run ODL courses – open and distance learning – in 2017. He has taught a range of diploma and certificate programs. It later expanded its mandate to include online education once UGC cleared it.

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Ansari was reluctant to compare online degree programs with the traditional offline programs taught at AMU for decades. At the moment, its biggest problem is the lack of knowledge of future students about this new offer. “A comparison can only be made after at least two years when we have data, then we can have an analysis,” he said. “A lot of students don’t know about online courses. Even the students on campus don’t have any information about it. We cannot put a banner at the crossroads advertising our program online. This kind of thing cannot be done by the central university ”.

The online degree courses will take the form of recorded videos of the AMU faculty itself, according to information provided by an admissions advisor. The faculty has been teaching online for over a year now.

Online and offline

UGC regulations require universities to only offer degree programs as online courses that they already teach in the conventional in-person format, presumably to ensure a minimum quality standard. AMU chose 14 of these programs, but they are unlikely to replicate the in-person experience exactly.

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A major difference between online and offline degree programs is the cost. When the costs of the in-person version include hostel fees and travel costs, online degrees require students to get an electronic device and internet connections. In comparison to the “high course fees” for other courses, the online Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) and Master of Commerce (MCom) degrees cost around Rs 25,000. Of the 14 online degree programs, six branches of the bachelor’s and master’s degree programs are each included. And entering is easier.

While for a regular degree program, AMU selects students on the basis of an entrance test, there is no such filter for online degree programs. To be eligible, students must have graduated from Class 12 from any school board recognized by the university. Even the number of places for each diploma is unlimited.

The courses offered are planned to prepare the student industry. The in-demand subjects that would hone students’ skills to secure employment are the highlight of the program.

The first round of admissions has started and Ansari was unable to share data on the number of applicants.

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COVID-19 and online courses

Although these online degree courses have not yet started, AMU teachers have trained to teach online. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all institutions to teach online, and Shirin Rais from the economics department has found that this helps him to stick to his teaching schedule and complete the program on time.

“Previously there were several public holidays and students would go home for festivals, come late and teaching started late,” she said. “But now the live lessons are easy for students to access anywhere.” If a student misses a class due to illness or any other reason, the live lessons are recorded and uploaded to the website where students can easily access them.

A CDOE team member told Careers360 that all classes will be pre-recorded and students’ attendance will be noted once the videos are finished. Students will be free to study in their own space and time.

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Regarding queries, students can submit the questions online on the website, using the query tab and they will be resolved online. Students will not be able to use the library facilities, but study material in the form of e-books will be provided to each student and, according to the manager, will be sufficient. At present, the website only provides course lines for the first semesters. There will also be live interactive lessons and these will also be recorded and uploaded to the learning management system later for those who miss them.

AMU has developed a structure for online education, says Rais. The exams will also be conducted online with quizzes comprising a mix of multiple choice questions (MCQs), short descriptive questions and audio-video questions. The website states that ongoing student assessments will be carried out, the results of which will be added to the final assessment report.

Program

Duration (in years)

Fee (In Rs.)

Bcom

3

28,500

BA

  • English

  • Story

  • Political science

  • Economy

  • urdu

  • Hindi

3

25,000

Mcom

2

23,000

MY

  • English

  • Story

  • Political science

  • Economy

  • urdu

  • Hindi

2

21,000


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