From the 1st of April, Dr Bilal Philip’s Islamic Online University (IOU) launched the world’s first tuition-free, Bachelor of Arts in Islamic Studies in English completely online. A major new step towards helping Muslims across the globe fulfill the Prophet’s command to seek knowledge of the religion and correct their understanding of its tenets.
After successfully running a collection of 20 free diploma courses since 2007 in which more than 30,000 students are currently registered from more than 177 different countries, Dr Bilal has taken the bold step of offering a BA along similar lines.
This path-breaking initiative utilizes the worldwide presence of the internet and advanced open source online learning technology to bring tuition-free university level Islamic education within reach of virtually anyone on the planet that has access to a computer and the internet.
The program has recorded audio and video lectures and weekly live tutorial classes in a virtual classroom setting on the net and its syllabus is based on the BA in Usool ud-Deen (Religious Foundations) curriculums of Madeenah University, Saudi Arabia, Omdurman Islamic University, Sudan, Al-Azhar in Egypt and other similar reputable Islamic institutions. Six subjects are offered each semester. Each semester is 5 months, having an online mid-term exam after two and a half months and a supervised final online at the end of the fifth month. Students are free to access their classes whenever it is convenient for them, however assignments have to be turned in and exams (mid-term and finals) have to be taken at fixed times.
There are no fees for the courses. However, there is a fixed modest registration and examination fee each semester which is calculated on a sliding scale (from $10 to $50) depending on the student’s country of residence. Enrollment for the fall semester (September 2010 – January 2011) has just begun at www.islamiconlineuniversity.com .