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December 9 '2000                                 

 An open world of learning on the Web

 Shyam Wadhwa
New Delhi

The world of online-education has traditionally been happy hunting ground for such leviathans of the IT trade as Aptech and NIIT. Open Learning World (OLW), with its exclusive features and services, however adds a new dimension to the existing milieu. This new education portal borrows certain features from the regular bricks and mortar universities but has shown a lot of initiative in combining these with some very sophisticated educational   tools   that harness the awesome power of the Web. In the words of Chief Operating Officer, OLW Ashish Jain, "Our goal has been to create a new class of online    training    and education   system    for medium    to    large corporations, professional training organizations and university level academic institutions".

OLW is certainly not the first entrant in the field of online education. However where it scores over its competitors, is its whole new approach to   disseminating education through the Web. The courses that will be on offer to students include management, IT, advertising, engineering, and fashion among others. OLW’s services being grouped by modules and functions provide a certain comfort-level to students who are familiar with the vocabulary traditionally used in schools and colleges. Adopting the new technology therefore becomes that much simpler.

The portal has been made highly customizable in order to accommodate the diverse preferences of any participating business organization. All the courses provide some basic features like courseware, chartroom, newsletter, registration, personal and career counseling, corporate training etc.

OLW CEO Anurag Jain says: "We beat our rivals on all the fronts. The other dotcoms in the same business like Zee learning and Aptech have no university backing them. On the other hand, OLW has a major tie up with Manipal University and NIA. Talks are also going on with 30-35 top ranking universities and institutes all over India."

"We have cutting edge courseware, a panel of experts from the corporate world as well as from the diverse fields of education. For our management courses we have people from IIMs, FMS, MDI etc. So the services and opportunities at OLW are simply incomparable," he says.

The courseware is available on the website but it is also given to the students in the form of CDs. As a result, students can study offline and this helps them in cutting their Internet costs.  The students visit the website for the solution to their queries and for consultations from a panel of experts. Academicians will reply to a student's query in two days where as professionals from the corporate world will reply back in seven days. 0LW takes special care in designing and revision of materials. It plans to update their servers so that up-to-date information is always available to the students.

The portal contains full courseware and provides links to the sites related to a particular subject, research sites, newsgroups, libraries, and lesson plan repositories. In future the portal will also contain libraries of video and sound dips for use in courses. OLW has also tied up with some good and experienced counselors who will provide active counseling online. Students will be provided full support during the exams and also at the time when results are declared.

Moreover, there is another feature called 'Job Desk' that will help students with placements after their graduation by posting their resume online. The company plans to raise money through revenue sharing. The students will pay their fee directly to the universities, which will then pay a fixed percentage to OLW.

With such innovative and high quality online learning products, OLW seems all set for the day when students, professionals and consumers from all walls of life will regularly participate in this compelling and enjoyable online learning experience. 

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