Aadhaar may be made mandatory for pursuing all online courses and only those universities which have been in existence for at least five years allowed to offer such courses, according to the draft UGC rules.
The draft of University Grants Commission (Online education) Regulations, 2017 says there will be continuous assessment even in online courses. The regulatory authority has invited feedback and comments on the draft by August 18.
As per the draft regulations, online courses will be as per UGC's guidelines on choice-based credit system scheme for conventional colleges universities.
For `quality' and `accountability', institutions offering online courses will have to undergo third party audit every two years. According to the eligibility criteria for an institution to be recognised for online programmes, the higher education institution (HEI) should have been in existence as a university for at least five years and should be accredited to the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) with a valid minimum score of 3.25 on 4 point scale.
Moreover, only those courses which are on offer through regular classroom teaching mode will be allowed to be offered as online courses. Also there has to be one teaching assistant if the number of learners in a course crosses the 500 mark, which is apart from a full-time director, registrar, assistant registrar and other academic staff.
Making the process technology-intensive right from content development using graphics, animation and webinars to e-learning modules and live virtual classroom sessions even the evaluation and assessment process will require the HEIs to have a robust computer-based testing system for `proctored online examinations' with features like integration with Aadhaar for learner authentication, screen and webcam recording for live invigilation.
A student will get three additional years to complete the programme from the actual duration the formal mode of education. So for a three-year-degree course, a student will be allowed six years.
Institutions intending to offer online programmes will have to pass through two stages of approval. The first stage will comprise audit assessment for the academic technical infrastructural HR compliance. An expert committee will examine the “fitness of courses intended to be offered“ as well as target groups and delivery mechanism, curricular aspects and effectiveness of assessment criteria.