Archana Prasad, JAAGA
Freeman Murray, Founder-Director Jaaga
Akshay Kanthi, Program Coordinator – Jaaga Study
Shaona Sen, Lead – Design
Through the Study program we envision to create an affordable learning environment in a unique physical and community-centric space called Jaaga in Bangalore, India. The program is designed to create next generation programmers who will be ready to be placed in the start-up environment that Bangalore is rich in. The Study program is designed to leverage on MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) being offered by top universities in the world, on platforms such as edX and Coursera. We believe platforms such as Udacity, Codecademy, and Khanacademy will also play a key role in the delivery of core content.
The program is designed to cater to each student’s learning goals. We arrange for coaches to help learners design their curriculum reach their goals and expert technical mentors who answer questions via email and online video chat office hours. Additionally, we invite learners to take on jobs available online in context to their learning.
Our learners are typically those who are disillusioned by the current education system in India where rote learning and limited college seats result in them joining streams that they are disinterested in.
Jaaga is a living building in Bangalore, India, which provides core infrastructure of socially-driven space and high-speed internet to artists, designers, techies and activists. We hold about 35 multidisciplinary events per month, ranging from hackathons, design workshops to poetry readings. The evolution of our co-working space nurtures the need for quality learning through digital tools and the physical presence of experts at an affordable cost. (http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/TEDxBandra-Archana-Prasad-Play)
We have run two pilot programs. The first involved informal learning groups that had volunteer moderators who would help facilitate discussions around online content. The learners came from varied backgrounds and were able to dedicate about 3-5 hours a week to the course. The second pilot was a three month residential model that involved learners going through online courses at their own pace, with little moderation.
The major learning through the first pilot is that local experts were interested to moderate and participate in the group. Courses that needed discussion and dialogue became an anchor for people from very diverse backgrounds to have a common shared productive experience. There were no dropouts.
Most participants said they would have preferred a more structured program. Having a facilitator who would help manage the learners’ schedule would be useful.
Jaaga Study is our next step. Through this program we hope to answer questions around how to best deliver this blended learning model in a physical environment that is tailored to the specific needs of this new form of learning. We will launch this program early 2014 with the goal of creating successful and market-worthy programmers.
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