Showing posts with label Knowledge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Knowledge. Show all posts

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Free Digital/Online Learning Resources for Students to Learn and Grow!


AI generated image (

Be it a formative assessment or a competitive exam, study materials are indispensable tools for a student’s preparations. At the same time, they contribute significantly to the student’s knowledge acquisition capabilities.

With the changing times, the medium of education and knowledge transfer has transformed immensely. Such that, digital teaching aids are currently being used extensively within and beyond the classroom to develop a better learner-centric ambience. Most importantly, the domino effect of technology being used for educational purposes was initiated quite inadvertently by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although the world came to a halt, certain industries kept on with their endeavors during the pandemic, like the Education sector. As classroom teaching techniques transcended the concrete walls to be implemented in online video classes, there was a surge in demand for online tools and resources among students for better understanding of the lessons being taught in class. Thus, the need for building digital repositories was deemed necessary.

Although several organizations, private and governmental, have their own archives containing multimedia resources and study materials, we at No Herd Mentality decided to build our own repository that would benefit students to a great extent, from secondary to postgraduate level.


  • Indian Culture - Digital District Repository:

A wonderful way to introduce young students to the extensive cultural landscape of our country, the Digital District Repository is the best starting point for parents and educators to consider. The interactive web design allows the viewers to access the historical accounts and events of each state across the country on the basis of its famous personalities, traditional and cultural forms, hidden facts and gems, as well as major events that shaped the legacy of the state. The coalescence of IT and History to educate students about the national as well as regional cultures of India is indeed a phenomenal mode to make learning a fun experience among children of all ages.

  • National Digital Library of India:

The National Digital Library of India boasts of a huge array of study materials and resources for school students in classes X and XII (CBSE) to prepare for their board exams as well as various competitive exams such as GATE, JAM, IIT-JEE, NEET, UGC-NET, IBPS, RRB, SSC, and UPSC. It also features archives of scholarly works and journal publications to benefit students pursuing higher studies.

  • Crash Course:

One of the most popular channels on YouTube, the Vlogbrothers (Hank and John Green) came up with the idea to kickstart a separate series of educational videos that would help students in the American Education system to understand the lessons being taught in class without the hassles of study notes and homework. Thus, Crash Course came into being as a YouTube channel in 2011. In the span of over 20 years, Crash Course has created more than 1.5k videos spanning across hundreds of subjects and study topics. Be it Literature, Psychology, Physics, Philosophy, Chemistry, Film Studies and whatnot, Crash Course covers almost every aspect of the syllabi taught at the school and college levels, excluding non-US content. You can click on the link above to access their web library.

  • TED Ed:

If Crash Course videos are too long for you to devote enough time, then you can always consider the bite-sized educational videos by TED. This series of animated videos (also available on YouTube) encompasses every major subject that is taught at the college level. However, what distinguishes TED Ed videos from other educational channels is that the former provide thought-provoking ways to viewers to look at a particular lesson or topic. Interestingly, TED Ed videos emphasize less on school test preparations and more on the need to educate students and viewers alike about the various phenomena that we see around ourselves. In short, TED Ed videos go beyond the textbook to help you read between the lines.

  • SWAYAM: 

One of the major initiatives taken up by the Indian Government in terms of making education accessible to all, SWAYAM consists of a huge array of courses and materials from the disciplines of STEM, Social Science, Commerce, as well as Humanities. Nine major coordinators provide these courses that have been designed by renowned scholars and educators from across the country. While these courses are offered for free on the website, students can choose to sit for a pen-paper exam or a CBT/Computer-Based Test to get a certification for the said course. These certificates do accentuate the candidate’s professional skills as well as academic qualifications, thus creating a good impression on the recruiters.

  • eGyanKosh: 

The courses offered on eGyanKosh are copyrighted by the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). Another popular digital academic repository, eGyanKosh provides course materials for different programs at the Bachelor’s degree, guiding students with the best quality resources so that they can ace the exams as well as learn about the contents of their respective programs in the long run. eGyanKosh also offers links to pre-recorded lectures, university publications, as well as self-learning materials so that students can strategize their knowledge acquisition methods accordingly.

That being said, this list of digital resources and study materials will be updated time and again with more innovative and useful academic websites and archives by us at No Herd Mentality. This way, students, parents, and educators as well can refer to these sources in the course of the learning phase, so that the students can not only understand the nitty-gritty of the lessons being taught in class, but also establish the right state of mind to frame their own ideas and opinions as independent individuals.

Apurba Ganguly (she/her) is an English Literature student, pursuing B.Ed (English). She has been eager to understand the intricacies of Memory Studies and Visual Narratives.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Perils of Outsourcing Academic Research

Image credit: I'm a Lazy Student on Facebook

Screenshot from my Whatsapp Chat

Recently I received a Whatsapp message from a friend of mine, enquiring for a freelancer, who can help a student to write the research synopsis. This message was the trigger for writing this blog, as I hold strong opinionated view,  on such academic learning/practice.

I reached out to a freelance writer in my network who holds a Masters Degree in Psychology (relatable background as the student) to get her perspective. Thanks to this interaction, I was able to assimilate newer perspectives and garner a holistic view. Though I still hold an opinionated view on such learning practice.

Technology (internet, digital, affordable computers) has increased the outreach and access to education, exponentially, ever seen before in the brick and mortar era. The same technology has also ushered opportunities for Freelancers, often referred as Gig workers (Gig economy). 

The critical question in this confluence is: How should one approach education in today's context? 

The emphasis on just earning Certificates and Degrees, is a passe, without any demonstrable skills. 

In today's 4IR (Fourth Industrial Revolution) the new emphasis is on hands-on skills and knowledge which can be put into practice!

In this changed paradigm, if a student's endeavour is just get a certificate, without acquiring skills and knowledge, they will be left holding just a piece of worthless paper in their hands.

Not to discount the fact, that outsourcing the academic assignment is unethical as it amounts to plagiarism.

Well, I don't want to take a morale high ground here and pass my judgement and sermons. I do understand a freelancer is within their rights to look at this, just as a professional task to be executed on payment basis. They are present in the marketplace to offer their knowledge and skills for a service fee. Hence the primary onus to outsource or not to outsource, lies with the students.

A student should ask two questions: 

The practice in which I am indulging, is it Ethical? 
Those who are morally upright, might refrain from outsourcing their academic writing. 

Am I Being Stupid by indulging in this practice? 
Let's assume there are students who give a damn to morality! They should ask this 2nd question, Am I being stupid?
At the face-value, you are is just outsourcing your academic work. However, at a deeper level you are outsourcing your learning opportunity, the rigour of research, opportunity to think critically, opportunity to gain deeper insights and in-depth expertise in your vocation. So in a true sense, the opportunity cost here is - Not To Learn and Grow!
So Am I Being Stupid? 
I am sure, by now almost all students would see the futility of indulging in this outsourcing practice. 

Playing devil's advocate here, a student may say - I don't care of ethics and I don't mind not learning. I am doing outsourcing my academic work, because I need a degree attached to my name. 

To them, I would humbly present my 1st argument. In today's changed context (4IR), the certificate/degree is just a piece of paper, unless one can exhibit skill and knowledge. So to those students, I would say, What's the point in spending your valuable time and money for a course of your disinterest. Your time and money, can be invested in a better avenue, which can make your flourish to your fullest potential.    

Enough of my lecturing and gyaan isn't it! 

So do I have a solution and positive inputs to provide to the students who maybe genuinely struggling to grasp the academic concepts and hence out of desperation are in look out for such freelancers (ghost writers) for their academic projects. These are few of the solutions I can think off:
  1. Time management: Usually a student can get pushed to hire/outsource their work, to meet a pressing timeline (this is a practical challenge especially for part-time students who also have to manage their work along with their studies). My advice would be, devout daily time, even if it's for shorter duration. Time management (daily time commitment, discipline) will go a long way, from preventing a student to get pushed by timeline crunch.
  2. Clarity on the Learning Objectives: Do always have the clarity of 'End in Mind'. Students should remind themselves they have taken the course for Employability (skill and knowledge) and not just to get a paper (certificate).
  3. Utilise Online Learning Resources: YouTube would be a great place to look up for tutorials on writing research proposals, synopsis etc. If one genuinely watches them with desire for learning, students would be able to supplement these learnings along with their existing class notes/lectures etc.
  4. Fun of Peer-learning (Group study): Engage in learning with your peers. Not to forget group study can be a fun way of learning too. 
  5. Find a mentor: You can always find a helpful mentor who is willing to guide you, challenge you to think independently and execute your work being self-reliant under their guidance. 
  6. If you are still unable to make in-roads and need to fall upon a freelancer, I would advice engage with someone who would refrain from ghost writing. Of course they would charge you for their knowledge and skill, but let them charge you for offering you guidance/mentoring and reviewing your drafts, rather than making you dumb by writing your project
With ChatGPT breaking into the scene, it's now so evident that outsourcing academic research/assignments is going into a whole new dimension. So it finally boils down to a matter of choice the student's have to make for themselves. 

Think short-term - indulge in academic outsourcing, enjoy the pleasures of free-time and just get the paper (certificate) in hand but fail to be future ready. 

Think long-term - DIY (Do It Yourself), enjoy the process of learning, gain skills/knowledge and grow into future ready citizen.

Bon Jovi famously sang "It's My Life". 

So who am I as a blogger to advice and pass judgements. "It's Your Life", so make your own choices and live the consequences. 

Signing off from this opinionated blog for now.......