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Q&A with Ankit Khandelwal: 18th to 22nd January

Posted in 'General Discussions' started by Carolyn, Jan 10, 2016.

  1. Carolyn

    Carolyn Founder at MoocLab Staff Member

    Suffolk, UK
    Ankit Khandelwal pioneered the UNESCO endorsed Zero Cost MBA using MOOCs to acquire skills to become a global manager. Ankit embraced this project full-time from his home in India and completed over 30 business and culture related MOOCs within 2 years to prepare himself for working in a multicultural global environment. Ankit now promotes online education around the world through blogs, publications, conference presentations and interviewing other MOOC enthusiasts.

    Ankit's work has been widely published around the world in both academic (Harvard, MIT to name a few) as well as business circles. He worked to carry the message of open education around the world and, as part of this effort, he got his work translated into 85 world languages through crowd-sourced intelligence.

    Ankit has kindly accepted to answer your questions on his Zero Cost MBA project as well as any questions you may have on learning with MOOCs. This is a great opportunity for you to benefit from Ankit's expert knowledge and experience.

    If you have something you'd like to ask Ankit, simply post your question by replying to this thread below, and Ankit will endeavor to answer.

    You can learn more about Ankit and the Zero Cost MBA project by visiting his website: www.ankitkhandelwal.in

    Click here to see Ankit's interview in MoocLab's series "Life-changing experiences of learning with MOOCs"

    This Q&A session will be open from Monday 18th to Friday 22nd January.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2016
    Nico Marzian likes this.
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  2. CourseTalk

    CourseTalk Find the right course from the right source. Expert

    Hi, Ankit! We at CourseTalk would like to know what would have made your experience with the Zero-Cost MBA better. What suggestions do you have for the online learning industry?
    Nico Marzian and Carolyn like this.
  3. A common question asked about online MBA is whether it has any value as far as employment is concerned. Few employers whom I know categorically said that they do not consider online MBA degree acceptable. They would prefer to have an employee who have doe it in a brick and mortar college. In such a scenario why would the students waste their precious time for a degree which is not valued in the job market?
    Nico Marzian and Carolyn like this.
  4. Samual

    Samual Guest

    Hi Ankit,
    The intro says that you have widely published your work around the world. Can you tell us more about this work? What is it that you have published?
  5. Sky

    Sky Member

    Hi Ankit,
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and expertise with us.
    Can I ask you how you have implemented the skills and knowledge you gained from studying MOOCs? Do you feel that you have achieved your goal of becoming a "global manager"?
  6. J Jackson

    J Jackson Guest

    Hi Ankit,
    How did you go about selecting courses for your Zero Cost MBA?
  7. Muvaffak GOZAYDIN

    Muvaffak GOZAYDIN Active Member Study Buddy Expert

    I loved this .

    Digital University provides to all people in the World ,
    in every field .
    Courses are from MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Duke, University of Illinois, University of Michigan , Tokio University, Peking University, altogether from 150 universities of the World best known universities with more than 1.500 couırses . No high school diploma is needed, no Money is needed .
    It is all FREE. You plan your own degree.

    Just go to www.digital-university.blogspot.com

    Everything is there. All free .
  8. Muvaffak GOZAYDIN

    Muvaffak GOZAYDIN Active Member Study Buddy Expert

    I have been employer for 40 years now after getting degrees from Stanford and doing research at Caltech and having the honor of working with Mr Hewlett and Mr Packard for 5 years in Palo Alto California . I do hire people with ONLINE degree. ONLINE or f2f is not important . Important thing is " where did you get your degree ? From MIT, Harvard, PennState, University of Illinois, University of Michigan ? "
    If you get your degree f2f from a Dakota University I do not hire you at all. But if you get an online from University of Michigan or Harvard or Stanford I hire you immediately . I hire only from the best 200 universities and colleges of the USA. You can find that list at US News .
    In summary
    Important matter is from where you get your degree, is it from a reputable brick and mortar university ? See list at US News .
  9. Muvaffak GOZAYDIN

    Muvaffak GOZAYDIN Active Member Study Buddy Expert

    ONLINE Learning Industry has a very sad past in the USA .
    For 20 years " for profit schools " promoted online to make billions . One school for profit even made more than $ 1 billion profit in only one year with more than 600.000 enrollment . Fortunately most under investigation now .
    New trend online by top schools will save the HE in the USA and in the World .
    I have been indebted to edx MIT Harvard consortium for their efforts of online .
    Very simply
    if a good performing school provides online courses 50 % for a degree requirement than
    - Cost goes down 50 %
    - enrollment goes up 100 %
    - quality of graduates improved, they can find good jobs
    - No Federal Loans are required .
    - No investment is required, but wisdom .
    Now to convert ff2f courses there are many software. Just go to openedx software made by MIT and Harvard and Stanford . They improve the quality every year too .
  10. Susan

    Susan Active Member

    Hi Ankit,
    Soft skills play a very important part in becoming a successful manager and should be very much part of any MBA program. The problem is, how can you actually demonstrate these skills to a potential employer?
    Carolyn and Nico Marzian like this.
  11. Nico Marzian

    Nico Marzian New Member

    Dreieich, Germany
    Hello Ankit,

    as we both know each other quite well already, I had the great opportunity to follow a part of your exciting journey and also to exchange on it with you personally.

    What I like very much is that you could bring in your wide theoretical scope based on a traditional academic education combined with participation in online learning, when engaging as a volunteer in projects addressing the environment, socio-econimical/-political issues, or also urban development.

    What would you say it was that you benefitted most from in terms of what you learned in and about MOOCs?

    What particular value do MOOCs have in your eyes that conventional education has not? Which connection between the two models would you like to see being developed?

    And what should be done to create more awareness for and acceptance of MOOCs (and online education in general) amongst employers as well as political levels?

    The last question goes together with the one by Kajal Sengupta above, and maybe also with the news that MoocLab.club shared today, about how Malaysia plans to become the "first country to develop [a] credit recognition policy for online courses":


    Best regards,
    Carolyn likes this.
  12. Ankit Khandelwal

    Ankit Khandelwal Well-Known Member

    Hi Jackson,

    Thanks for your question. If you are patience enough to listen to my talk at UNESCO seminar, then all of your questions can find answer there. Follow the link:

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3SLaadRpSU

    In summary, I did not go about selecting the courses at first. My objective was to gain the skills and to gain the skills, it was necessary to identify what skills? I spent 2 months in extensively studied different reports, future market trends, and put some of my own imagination to identify required skills in becoming a future global manager.
    When I started working to gain those skills, that's where selecting the courses come into the picture. Fortunately, I found a good mix of MOOCs and OCW (Open Course Ware) courses to fulfill my requirements. Apart from the courses; I have used webinars, you-tube videos, and television broadcasting to understand/practice the new concepts.

    I hope that I did answer your question. Please watch the video and write here again, if you have further questions. I will more than glad to provide you much more detailed things :) [I love to talk about my work, so gets ready]
    Sky and Carolyn like this.
  13. Ankit Khandelwal

    Ankit Khandelwal Well-Known Member

    Hi Nico,
    Thanks for the praiseworthy words. Indeed, we know each other quite well and I will bring some of our joint course experiences in giving the answers. You have asked few good questions and allow me to answer them in parts:

    There were many benefits from learning through MOOCs. Let me not take much space here and summarized in:
    Flexibility to choose my study path, ability to innovate in choosing what projects to be done, interaction with interesting people like you on regular basis, pushing myself to the limits by expanding my knowledge base (like studying China X) etc are some of the best examples. The liveliness of the discussion forum has brought so many perspectives from many different angle on a single topic. This is close to impossible in other formats of education.

    This is what I can remember at the moment. My answer will be updated, if I get more ideas :)
    Sky, Nico Marzian and Carolyn like this.
  14. Ankit Khandelwal

    Ankit Khandelwal Well-Known Member


    Since MOOCs are still in the development stage, it will be slightly unfair to compare traditional education with MOOCs. But, I still have to answer your question :) There are few things, I (or you too) can see clearly.

    Addressing hesitations:
    After a certain age, many people go back to the university to fulfill their educational needs. Sometime it is psychological (they think they are too old to go back and sit in the classroom), sometime it is because of family responsibility (studying in university require full time commitment) and sometime it is due to the lack of money (education is costly at some places in the world).
    There can be other reasons, due to which people hesitate to take educational path.
    Through MOOCs, anyone can gain knowledge breaking all those above mentioned barriers. A recent interview by our own China X classmate Portia Snijders is a true reflection of this.

    Flexible approach for every type of learner:

    Some people learn slowly and some quickly. I believe, slow learner can be at disadvantage in conventional education. But in MOOCs, a person can listen a same lecture again and again until he/she understand the concept completely. It is also beneficial for a quick learner to finish things at a quick pace and spent remaining time in practicing knowledge. The MOOC format, through challenging in managing times, still allows people to study at their own pace, at their convenient locations.
    My interview with Dilrukshi Gamage at MOOC Lab Interview series can be best way to understand it. How she is able to work, study, and able to handle her family responsibilities through MOOCs.


    MOOCs can be used as a best way of gaining knowledge. The knowledge gained can be used in many different practical purposes. They can be used to solve local problems, just like I tried to solve traffic congestion problem of my home town in India (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/mooc...town-city-ankit-khandelwal?trk=mp-author-card).

    A person can use them to re-build the career. Let me not take my example, but a recent interview of Francisco Goitia can throw some light about the potential here. http://www.mooclab.club/threads/francisco-goitia-how-moocs-made-his-dream-come-true.1729/

    Many people from the NovoEd MOOC course 'Technology Entrepreneurship', actually started their companies and some of they are doing quiet well. All of them at the course discussion forum, formed ideas and refined it there itself.

    I am not saying that all of the above mentioned things are not possible through conventional education, but MOOCs provided a slightly easier way to implement those ideas.

    Quick, Agile and Expandable: It is possible to develop a MOOCs quickly, run in on a continuous basis and train many people through a single course. It is much useful in the developed countries, where lack of educational infrastructure prevent people to gain access to basic education. With people learning their own pace, they can allow to create much more greater impact than a conventional education.

    MOOCs can also allow increase in participation of local people in Governance. A recent MOOC offered by European Commission was a good step in this direction.
    They can also be used to solve many different social problems. One of them is smooth integration of migrants. I have forwarded this idea to German Government in past and also written a post about this on LinkedIn. You can read it here:

    I have also written about usefulness of MOOCs in solving a social problem in India. Please refer the link: http://www.slideshare.net/enlighting/become-a-part-of-clean-india-drive

    I can talk a lot more about such direct or indirect benefits. For now, this answer can be sufficient. Please ask, if you want to know more.
    Sky, Nico Marzian and Carolyn like this.
  15. Nico Marzian

    Nico Marzian New Member

    Dreieich, Germany
    Thanks Ankit.
  16. Ankit Khandelwal

    Ankit Khandelwal Well-Known Member

    This is a very good question. I like to refer 2 interview of Dr. Anant Agarwal (President of edx) before moving further to provide my opinions.

    1. I took this interview for The Times of India , when I was in the last phase of my Zero Cost MBA project. He talked about some of the problems faced by MOOCs in the developing countries.


    2. This is the interview he has given today about the recent developments at edX to modify the offerings.

    Allow me to use the world 'online learning' as a common word for every type of learning connected to internet (MOOCs, OCW, Webinars, Podcasts etc) at some places to cover a larger ground and depth.

    -Increase in internet penetration: In developing countries like India, there is acute shortage of high speed broadband connection. MOOCs require such high speed for viewing and downloading the video lectures. I personally faced this problem sometime as highlighted in this interview given to CourseTalk.

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFwK8vEt6HU

    So far, good speed internet connection is only available in big cities, thereby limiting the benefits of MOOCs or online learning. But I am hopeful, that it will change in future and more and more people will be able to access these courses. Situation will definitely change in that case.

    - Spreading Positive Message: MOOC's are not a new phenomenon. 'Online learning' has been used from past many years at companies around the world to train their employees in different skills. MOOCs are just offering a slightly version of this learning. An interview of entrepreneur Jos Massen on MOOC Lab Interview series can highlight such benefits for the corporation. http://www.mooclab.club/threads/moo...ast-and-mooc-factory-founder-jos-maassen.889/

    'Resistance to new change' happens always. MOOCs are also not very different in this entire context. One of the problems MOOCs are facing since their inception is the unnecessary negative publicity around them. This is a very new format and need different style of evaluation and can be given some more time before being critical. But, they are being labelled by many as 'death of university', 'unfulfilled vision of higher education' etc. In the world, where negative message spread/sell so fast, I think it is the responsibility of MOOCs beneficiaries (including me) to bring the positive image of MOOCs to the larger audience.
    Only then we can create a better understanding in the mindset of newer learners.

    - Courses in other languages: Majority of MOOCs are still in English. Although, English is becoming a major trade language but it is still not the mother-tongue of more than half of world population. I have witnessed this problem during my 'Global Marketing' and 'Global Translation' project very clearly. Not just the local languages but customized local content can also be useful in better engaging students.

    - Geographical differences: The acceptance of MOOCs is higher in some countries and lower in others. This can also be said for the acceptance level in the eyes of employers. While companies like Google going ahead with MOOCs and accepting them as a way of skills development, other places remain skeptical about it. In my view, things have already started to change. It will become much better in the coming days.

    - Recent positive development in MOOCs: MOOCs were very new to everyone. For Professors, Learners, and Universities. In past 3 years, a lot has been learn. I also helped many researchers in understanding this new format of learning. Lot of shortcomings were addressed and the following developments will definitely allow more people to understand benefits of MOOCs.

    Some new developments that are in progress:
    > Capstone project: Started by Coursera in partnering with companies for real life projects.
    > Nanodegrees: A lot has been said about this already, I do not have to add more into this :)
    > Prevention of cheating: A lot of work has been done in this area as highlighted by Anant Agarwal in his 2nd interview.
    > Transfer of credits: edX is working to give credits on passing courses on online platform. Iversity has also tried something similar in past. Overall, this is a good step.
    > Hybrid classroom: On the line of blended learning (online+classroom), this new concept is there to transform both online and offline learning.
    > Verified certificates: It's improving the course completion rate.

    - Role of Government: Many Governments are taking MOOCs learning as a best way of educating population in future. In recent months, I have read news from USA, India, France , Jordan and other countries. Institutions such as World Bank, IMF(International Monetary Fun), WEF(World Economic Forum) and recently European Commission are using this format of learning to import knowledge to wider audiences.

    Online learning has always been there in some way or other. The involvement of universities has expanded the scope to much wider audience. MOOCs are just 3 years old and they will gain more acceptance with the passage of time.

    It was a very good question Nico. I might have distracted at some places to add some extra elements. Hopefully, I have provided a satisfactory response.

    Nico Marzian and Sky like this.
  17. Ankit Khandelwal

    Ankit Khandelwal Well-Known Member

    Hi Sky,
    Thanks for your question. My entire project was based on "Learning by doing" pedagogy. I have used online course projects/self-designed projects/solving social problems/volunteering assignments/ freelance consulting/essay competitions etc to put the best usage of my gained knowledge into practice. It is not possible to list every single project or new methodologies developed to practice knowledge, but you can at least glimpse of it through the following bullet points:

    1. General projects: I have shared some of them in this article at LinkedIn.

    2. Learning business strategy: I have written a 3 part series at Saylor.org website telling more about learning Business Strategy using simple tools. It can be read here:

    3. More different projects: I am copying a portion of entire article published at the University Post at your reference. This information can also be read at http://ankitkhandelwal.in/implementation-phase/

    Practicing knowledge in real life

    I was living in my home town to reduce my expenses and trying to finish this entire project without extra financial burden. I did not have luxury to do internships, buying cases to read to practice my knowledge. In such situation, I turned to my surrounding environment. And I make the best use of available online/offline situations to practice my knowledge.

    1. Course project/essays
    /other competitions:Many of the online courses have projects as requirement of getting course completion certificate.My course projects included strategic analysis on an African Bank, comparative economic analysis between 2 Latin American countries, globalization project on Kazakhstan, solving a dispute in context of EU Legislation, checking environment law violation disputes at a farm in USA and also modifying traffic plan of my own city. I have also written essays covering cultural aspects of Iran, China, Latin America and Middle-East. Using the knowledge from courses, I have participated in several competitions. Important of them were ‘Improving competitiveness of Eastern Europe’ and ‘Improving cultural cooperation between India-Russia’.

    2. Side studies/helping others
    /volunteering projects: Using my knowledge of finance, I helped in planning debt reduction plan of a street vendor. I have planned plan of increasing income for another street vendor. I have helped an NGO in Sierra Leone in improving their agricultural activities. Later, I have helped a Mexican firm to improve their packaging efficiency. Some of the side studies that I have taken to practice my knowledge were, ‘Investment potential of green technologies in India’, ‘How to maintain discipline in lines in crowded temples of India to reduce Stampede ’, ‘Marketing in megacities in 2020’ etc.

    3. Social Media/Other readings:
    Living in my hometown offered me very little possibility to have face to face interactions with other people on topics of my interest. So, I turned to virtual world and became more active at different groups of LinkedIn/Facebook. There, I have exchanged information and put my thoughts on issues of public policy, culture, project management, leadership, international trade etc. I have read easily available resources like company annual reports, published reports of international institutions (world bank, IMF, EU etc) to gain necessary depth in different economic sectors.

    (Maximizing your learning through professional networking platform LinkedIn, my experiences)

    4. Newspapers/Public libraries:To understand more about global trends, by late May 2012, I started to read news (mostly business) from 8-10 different major countries of the world. Through such readings, I have put many of economic, finance, strategic theories in practice to understand their relevance in day to day real events. I have also created a knowledge database of different economic sectors with associated trends.Using the card borrowed from my friend, I have extensively used private libraries to study areas not covered through newspaper readings.

    There were some more approaches in learning language, developing intercultural competence as part of my entire project. It will only make my answer very lengthy. You can explore more through those links.

    Thanks for the question.

    Nico Marzian, Sky and Carolyn like this.
  18. Ankit Khandelwal

    Ankit Khandelwal Well-Known Member

    I can say both 'yes' and 'no'. This project was part of my long term vision (let's say 10-15 years) and I have finished the initial stage. I have developed the mindset, expertise, and knowledge so far and also used major part of it in my 'Global Marketing' and 'Global Translation' project. But learning never stops for me and there is always something to learn and add to my vision. New trends will continue to come up and I will keep adding the knowledge and practicing them.
    Nico Marzian, Sky and Carolyn like this.
  19. Ankit Khandelwal

    Ankit Khandelwal Well-Known Member

    Hi Samuel,
    Well, it composed to many different things. The idea is to spread the benefits of open education to other people.
    1. Blogs: I have written many different blogs for people to take best usage of MOOCs.
    2. Articles: I have written some articles as a columnist for the 2nd largest English daily in India.
    3. Presentation: I have presented my work in the conferences (including UNESCO, ICDE) to spread a new form of gaining education.
    4. Helping researchers: I do not have exact numbers, though I have helped researchers from more than 10 universities to understand MOOCs better. It must have helped them some way to modify the upcoming MOOCs.
    5. Media: My work has been published in some of the leading Business and Traditional Media.

    I have also launched MOOC Lab Interview Series with MOOC Lab to bring stories of other MOOC enthusiastic. My work(2 page summary of the project) has also been translated into 85 languages to increase the positive message of open education.

    Looks so much? Well, do not worry. I am making a presentation now a days on this entire exercise and will update once it gets published. It will give better overview. Please be patient.


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  20. Ankit Khandelwal

    Ankit Khandelwal Well-Known Member

    Hi Kajal,
    Thanks for the question. Sorry for sounding rude, but studying a course from Harvard, MIT or other good universities is never a waste of time. Their may be some skepticism, but if a recruiter fails to understand the hard work (dedication, motivation, and discipline) goes in completing a MOOC, then it is definitely not worth to approach that recruiter. As, I have said before and many other learners here again and again that MOOCs are not for everyone. Those who are passionate about gaining knowledge and developing skills will also be confident enough to demonstrate their skills to perspective recruiter. In case, recruiter has already made his/her mind not to even think about such demonstration as a possibility, then it is better to find another recruiter.

    The acceptance level completely varies from country to country. Online MBA is not a new phenomenon and they were accepted quiet well in majority of job markets (if done from a reputed university). The online MBA through a MOOC format is a new phenomenon (only one university is offering it so far as far as I know) and it will take some time to gain acceptance. Again, it will vary from country to country.

    Regarding the employment, I have seen from a long time that even a degree obtained from Brick and Mortar methods cannot guarantee a job in today's competitive market. Many people from MOOCs did get good jobs, started companies, and gained growth in their careers. All this was not possible from the so called 'Brick and Mortar' methods.

    But, regardless of what I say or others say, it all comes down to an individual person. He or she must do, what is best for him/her. If obtaining degree in conventional way looks suitable for them, there is nothing harmful in going for that. MOOCs offer a good alternative, should a person is willing to take it.

    Thanks for the question.

    Nico Marzian, Sky and Carolyn like this.

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