Dilip Modi-backed Omnia Invests Rs 7 Crore In Education Start-Ups

Dilip Modi-promoted Omnia Investments has funded candidate assessment venture Common Job Test and higher education firm Sunstone, picking up significant minority stake in both start-ups. According to a report by Economic Times, the total sum invested by Omnia in these early-stage start-ups amounts to Rs 7 crore.

(Via Dilip Modi-backed Omnia Invests Rs 7 Crore In Education Start-Ups | VCCircle)




Helion Advisors announces investment of US$ 3.5 mn in Vienova Education

Helion Advisors, one of the largest early stage venture funds in the country, today announced an investment of US$ 3.5 million in Vienova Education, an affordable private education provider based in Delhi, India. This follows the first round of funding by Indian Angel Network (IAN) and others in 2008. With this investment, Mr Sanjeev Aggarwal, Senior Managing Director, Helion Advisors, joins the board of Vienova.

(Via Helion Advisors announces investment of US$ 3.5 mn in Vienova Education)



English, in India

Saw this article in the ToI. Again, good scores are not a perfect representative of proficiency. A very well-defined and a standard definition of proficiency is long due.

“Toefl provides accurate scores at the individual level; it is not appropriate for comparing countries,” clarified Walt MacDonald, ETS executive vice-president and chief operating officer.

“The differences in the number of students taking the test in each country, how early English is introduced into the curriculum, how many hours per week are devoted to learning English, and the fact that those taking the test are not representative of all English speakers in each country or any defined population,” Said MacDonald.

via ‘Toefl score comparison unfair’ – The Times of India.

This was really my primary crib, when I wrote about the Proficiency Debate.

Education-Technology Giants SunGard and Datatel Announce Merger

Two of the largest software companies in higher education, SunGard and Datatel, today announced plans to merge, after the private-equity firm that owns Datatel signaled plans to buy SunGard Higher Education for $1.775-billion.

(via Education-Technology Giants SunGard and Datatel Announce Merger – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Better Future for a MOOC

Audrey Watters recently wrote an “introductory” post about the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)

The acronym MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course. The meaning of “massive” is obvious; a MOOC can range from several hundred to several thousand participants. But it isn’t just the size of the classes or even their location — online — that make MOOCs different.

MOOCs redefine academic courses in several ways. They are open, for one, which means that anyone can participate. The content of the course — readings and so on — is freely and openly accessible. The content that participants create is also open. Students blog, for example, and share their learning with one another.

via Are MOOCs the Future of Online Learning? | MindShift.

Having participated in a MOOC, recently – Learning & Knowledge Analytics – LAK11, (which, I admit, I have yet to complete – and that is the beauty of it), I can tell you that the experience is enriching. However, as Audrey Watters rightly says, there needs to be a “strong commitment” to learn.

The one major advantage of a MOOC, to my mind is the accessibility of the course. Learning content that would have been otherwise unavailable to people around the world is now on your screens and at your disposal in a way that you could not have imagined. A very recent example is the MOOC being offered by Stanford University on “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” A free course from Stanford University, yes you read that right. But here’s something that may not completely be wonderful about a MOOC. According to the info pagefor this course:

It is their objective to offer identical homework assignments, quizzes, and exams in both versions of this course. Students taking the online version will therefore be graded according to the same grading criteria as students taking CS221 at Stanford. However, to receive Stanford credit, the course has to be taken through Stanford; and students have to be registered at Stanford University. Online student will only get a certificate in the name of the instructors, but no official Stanford certificate.

That is the logic of free. I have yet to see a MOOC that offers any kind of certification. If you have read Audrey Watters’ article, you will have seen that a MOOC is necessarily an informal learning. So you’d participate in a MOOC more for the love of learning than certification itself.

A few thoughts on the way forward for MOOCs:

  • It would be nice for MOOCs to have industry participation. For all the cries of talent shortage that the industry makes, it is ironic that would not want to participate in such a progressive and contemporary learning initiative.
  • It would be even more worthwhile, if they endorse such courses. It would help provide additional motivation to the participants to take up MOOCs as supplementary qualifications.
  • MOOCs use well-developed technology platforms for delivery; an ePortfolio would be helpful, something that the participants can carry in lieu of of a formal certificate.
  • Since MOOCs usually have thousands of participants (not all of them quite serious learners), a method of filtering folks that you would like to follow and engage with. Also, a method to identify and discover folks who are actively engaged in the course.

These notes, to an extent, invalidate the very idea of informal and open learning. However, I believe the MOOC has the potential to address some of the gaps that education needs to fulfill.

Finally, the one irony of a MOOC, I cannot but help noticing, is the accessibility of a MOOC. By virtue of it being an online course, those who could be best served by the value of a MOOC, are the ones who do not have access to the Internet.

Everonn to invest Rs 700 cr in training centres – Times Of India

Embarking on a vision of training 15 million students in India by 2022, education services company Everonn would invest Rs 700 crore in the next three years to set up training centres in the country, a top company official said.

(via Everonn to invest Rs 700 cr in training centres – Times Of India).

DB Corp To Pick Minority Stake in DMC Education | VCCircle

Ad-for-equity media investor DB Corp, that publishes Dainik Bhaskar newspaper, is investing Rs 2.67 crore in DMC Education Ltd. DMC Education (earlier known as DMC International) had diversified from its original business of real estate to education sometime back and has been actively snapping small firms to build its presence in the sunrise sector.

DMC Education has sewn a string of similar ad-for-equity deals with other media groups over the past year. Last August it announced that it has entered into a debenture subscription agreement with HT Media Ltd(that published the Hindustan Times)for a deal worth Rs 1.5 crore through fully convertible debentures.

DMC Education is into the fast growing field of providing training for various entrance examinations. It seeks to establish itself across India in the supplemental education market.

(Via DB Corp To Pick Minority Stake in DMC Education | VCCircle)