AshokaX, the University's online learning arm, expanded significantly in 2021 and has now reached close to a thousand learners with its slate of offerings.
To lead this important initiative, Ashoka University in July announced Sunil Khilnani, Professor of Politics and History at Ashoka, as Dean, with responsibility to oversee course programming on the platform. Prof. Khilnani, a well-known figure in literary and academic circles, comes with several decades of experience in teaching and administration across institutions. He has in recent years hosted a podcast series with the BBC on 'Incarnations: India in 50 Lives'.
In September, the University signed a partnership with Coursera, the world's leading online learning platform to host its recorded courses for a wide audience (MOOCs). The first set of these courses will go live on the Coursera platform in the middle of 2022, beginning with a flagship course in 'Modern Indian History' by Prof. Rudrangshu Mukherjee, Sunil Khilnani and Srinath Raghavan. Courses in Sociology & Anthropology, Indian Philosophy and Biology and Environment are also expected to be developed.
AshokaX launched two new course offerings for learners in the year:
i. AshokaX Horizons for High-School Learners consists of "Pre-College", live courses by Ashoka faculty for school students looking to explore different passions and interests before applying to college. This offering was piloted in Summer 2021 with a slate of 8 courses and close to 300 students, from over 40 cities and 150 schools enrolled. Generous scholarships were extended on a need-basis to students from schools such as Vidyagyan, Avasara etc, among others.
ii. AshokaX Weekend Seminars is a short, weekend-based course offering for the adult, working professional audience was recently inaugurated on an experimental basis on the AshokaX platform with the renowned philosopher Arindam Chakrabarti, Visiting Professor at Ashoka University. With a successful pilot run, this format will now be expanded in the coming year with a slate of 8 such courses planned for March 2022.
AshokaX has ambitious plans to grow its course offerings and expand its learner base in the coming years. The platform has also established a unique niche in the market with its premium, exclusive course offerings based on Ashoka's liberal, multidisciplinary based education and teaching.
With several faculty and course offerings already on the platform, AshokaX is set to expand substantially in the coming year with scaling up of its Horizons and Weekend Seminars offerings as well as the introduction of longer, more formal course offerings in the form of stacks and certificates as well as, recorded MOOC courses. The year will begin with an exciting professional certificate offering in Behavioural Science by Ashoka's Centre for Social and Behaviour Change titled 'How to Change a Life'. More such programmes are under development.