Nptel, online courses and certification, Learn for free


The National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) was initiated by seven Indian Institutes of Technology (Bombay, Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras, Guwahati and Roorkee) along with the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore in 2003. Five core disciplines were identified, namely, civil engineering, computer science and engineering, electrical engineering, electronics and communication engineering and mechanical engineering and 235 courses in web/video format were developed in this phase.

The main goal of NPTEL Phase II (2009-14) was to build on the engineering and core science courses launched previously in NPTEL Phase I. An additional 600 web and video courses were created in all major branches of engineering, physical sciences at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels and management courses at the postgraduate level. Several improvements such as indexing of all video and web courses and keyword search were implemented.


NPTEL began offering open online courses in March 2014 along with certificates from the IITs/IISc for those who completed the courses successfully.

It is now possible for ANYONE outside the IIT System to be able to do an online certification course from NPTEL and get a certificate from the IITs. IITs are reaching out and taking education to the homes of people through this initiative.

Why was this initiative through the model of Open Online Courses?

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) is essentially an asynchronous platform and a process for teaching through pre-recorded lectures, resource video materials, lecture notes, assignments and quizzes, which are usually online and provide self assessment in regular intervals during learning.

The learning, through scheduling of fixed time duration for completion of courses and, therefore, the simultaneous participation of teachers and a large number of students may be termed synchronous and is thus similar to a classroom, albeit on the Internet and being much larger in size.

When offered with consideration for students in non-urban and rural areas through supplementary DVDs and mobile delivered content, they enable quality and equitable access to a much larger population of students and can lead to a significant rise in the Gross Enrollment Ratio.

These courses are open for anyone to access – at no cost. So anyone who is interested in learning gets access to quality content, which also includes discussion with the content creator and access to assignments for self testing.

The faculty who are currently offering courses are from the IITs or from other reputed institutes such as CMI, IMSc etc.

NPTEL Online Certification

The objective of enabling students obtain certificates for courses is to make students employable in the industry or pursue a suitable higher education programme.

Through an online portal, 4-, 8-, or 12-week online courses, typically on topics relevant to students in all years of higher education along with basic core courses in sciences and humanities with exposure to relevant tools and technologies, are being offered. The enrolment to and learning from these courses involves no cost. Following these online courses, an in-person, proctored certification exam will be conducted and a certificate is provided through the participating institutions and industry, when applicable.

Certification process:

NPTEL began the initiative of offering certification to students for courses in March 2014. The process of certification is as follows.

1. Subject Matter Experts (SME - faculty from IITs or partner institutes with input from industry) create recorded video content for courses.

2. The course is uploaded on the portal and opened for enrollments, which is free.

3. Every week, about 3 hrs of video content is released along with an assignment , which is evaluated and provides the student with a score.

4. Teaching Assistants (TAs) and the faculty members support the discussion forum – answering questions and clearing doubts.

5. If someone wants to get a certificate from the IITs/IISc after doing the course, he/she should register for the in-person proctored certification exam that is conducted in about 100 cities across India in collaboration with an exam partner. The certification exam is not free but has a nominal fee of Rs 1100.

6. Final score=25% assignment score + 75% exam score. To be eligible for a certificate, the learner should have scored >=40% final score. E-verifiable certificates are made available on and hard copies are also dispatched to the candidates.

7. These certificates are envisioned for use in credit transfer to universities or for making the student more employable or for enhancing his growth in his current place of work.

Use of the course/certificate

UGC and AICTE are actively encouraging colleges and Universities to adopt atleast one online course a semester for credit transfer. Many have already incorporated the same. Also several IITs such as IIT Madras, IIT Roorkee, IIT Tirupati, IIT Palakkad, etc are allowing these courses to be taken for credits. So too, IIIT Delhi, IIIT Hyderabad, etc.

Many students are using these to prepare for GATE exams and higher studies too.

20% of the audience is faculty members in various colleges across the country. The advanced courses are being recommended to AICTE to be approved as Faculty development programs (FDP) so that they can get the points for the same.

1. Enables the student to directly engage and learn from the best faculty in the country in that particular subject. This strengthens the fundamentals of the student in the course

2. Gives the students the opportunities to explore new areas of interest – which are not possible in regular college environment. Also gives students the opportunity to learn in greater depth the subjects they wish to master. These courses are also serving as faculty development programmes (15-20% of enrollments are by faculty in different colleges).

3. The audience in a MOOC includes students spanning the length and breadth of India and a small fraction of foreign students. This mix of peer group gives the students a chance to assess where they stand with respect to this group of learners.

4. These courses also bring out the self-learning initiative of the students – where their own motivation is what drives them to complete the course and not external compulsions. This fosters the habit of keeping oneself updated always by means of self-study.

5. The certificates issued bear the stamp of CCE, IIT and hence are valuable additions when the student is applying for jobs.

6. Companies can also dig into this pool of candidates with specialized skills – in case they wish to recruit.

NPTEL Local Chapters – partnership with colleges:

NPTEL partners with around 1900+ colleges as on date in the form of NPTEL Local chapters and each college has a coordinator with who NPTEL works closely with. (

Some highlights:

 Largest online repository in the world of courses in engineering, basic sciences and selected humanities and social sciences subjects

 Online web portal – more than 460 million+ views

 Youtube channel for NPTEL – most subscribed educational channel, 1.3 million+ channel subscribers, 330 million+ views

 More than 42000 hours of video content

 Most accessed library of peer-reviewed educational content in the world

 40000+ hours of transcribed content; 39000+ hours of subtitled videos

Some statistics regarding the open online courses since March 2014 till April 2018

 Completed courses: 740;

 Enrollments across courses: 36,00,000+

 Number of exam registrations: 2,69,000+

 All the statistics pertaining to completed courses are available at

 All courses are completely free to enrol and learn from. The certification exam is optional and comes at a fee of Rs 1100/course exam.

 Upcoming courses: 269 (July 2018); Enrollments are open


 The online courses offered by NPTEL, unlike other popular MOOCs portals, include courses from all disciplines of Engineering such as Biotechnology, Ocean Engineering, Metallurgical Sciences etc apart from the popular ones such as Computer Science Engineering or Electrical Engineering. Examples of some such courses are Cell Culture Technologies, Forest Biometry, Integral equations, calculus of variations and its applications, Solid state physics, Regression Analysis,etc.

 Also the content in every course is in-depth and as taught in the IITs, which will provide any candidate who goes through it, a solid foundation and understanding of that particular topic. These courses will help candidates prepare for the entrance exams for higher technical education too. Some such courses would be Networks and Systems, Fluid dynamics and turbomachines, Strength of materials, etc in our current offering.

 The bouquet also has courses on current and cutting edge technology, which will improve the employability of candidates in the technical domain too such as Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, Data Analytics and Machine Learning, MIMO/OFDM Cellular and Sensor Networks, etc.

 People interested in improving their management skills or broadening their horizons in non-technical areas have a large number of courses to choose from which include Six Sigma, Educational Leadership, Introduction to Psychology, E-business, Project Management for Managers, History of English Language and Literature, etc.

Initiatives in the pipeline:

 Translation of the English transcripts into 10 regional languages – to help the students coming from local language schooling.

 Value add for the toppers in the courses:

 Internship opportunities with the Course instructors in the IITs/IISc

 Exploring internships/interview opportunities with companies we are partnering with currently

 Workshops on current technologies by company resources