How are Udemy and Coursera propping up dreams of a foreign education for these two guys?

Young mechanical engineering students from Mumbai share their experiences of using e-learning portals as they prepare for higher education.

Written by Swasti Acharya


‘Distance’ education was generally seen as being inferior to physical classroom learning. It is often assumed to produce a lower quality of teaching, student experience, and hands-on knowledge. The same degree title would convey different capabilities based on whether it was acquired through physical attendance in the institution or not.

Who we spoke to:

  • 21 years old (both)
  • Male (both)
  • Mumbai (both)

What happens to degree titles in the era of remote learning?

Remote (almost) everything, actually.

When the pandemic hit India in 2020, the University Grants Commission (UGC) and other authorities on education issued COVID-19 specific guidelines. This resulted in the temporary closure of ~1000 universities and ~40,000 colleges. Students enrolled in these higher education institutions (HEIs) were asked to go home, schools told to conduct online classes, and teachers required to implement e-learning methods of pedagogy. For most stakeholders, making the switch was disruptive and difficult. From socio-economic issues of accessibility to physical and emotional turmoil at an individual level, the shift from offline to online and back to (somewhat) offline has posed a myriad of challenges.

According to Ashraye*, “A major challenge is the studying itself.” Ashraye is a third-year mechanical engineering student from Mumbai attending AP Shah Institute of Technology. “During Covid, we didn't study for two years. It was online, so no one was studying. And I was like, ‘Yeah, the paper will come, we will copy and we'll view the exam.’”