Engineering virtual learning | Cover Story | Times Crest
Popular on Times Crest
  • In This Section
  • Entire Website
  • Dying to get in
    July 13, 2013
    At its AGM held on June 29, 2008 it was resolved to put a 5-year freeze on membership applications at Bangalore's most coveted club, the…
  • Club hits
    July 13, 2013
    Despite their restrictive membership rules, colonial trappings and archaic dress (and gadget) codes, India's private clubs haven't lost…
  • Finer tastes
    July 13, 2013
    It is the culinary tradition and its grand interiors that Bengal Club is justifiably proud of.
More in this Section
Profiles
Leaving tiger watching to raise rice Ecologist Debal Deb, who did his post-doctoral research from IISc in…
The crorepati writer He's the man who gives Big B his lines. RD Tailang, the writer of KBC.
Chennai-Toronto express Review Raja is a Canadian enthusiast whose quirky video reviews of Tamil…
Don't parrot, perform Maestro Buddhadev Dasgupta will hold a masterclass on ragas.
A man's man Shivananda Khan spent his life speaking up for men who have sex with men.
Bhowmick and the first family of Indian football At first glance, it would be the craziest set-up in professional football.
From Times Blogs
The end of Detroit
Jobs in Detroit's car factories are moving to India.
Chidanand Rajghatta
How I love the word ‘dobaara’...
Can ‘bindaas’ or ‘jhakaas’ survive transliteration?
Shobhaa De
Anand marte nahin...
India's first superstar died almost a lonely life.
Robin Roy
Degrees of freedom

Engineering virtual learning

|



The Indian Institutes of Technology have for long been sensitive to they fact that they are an intellectually gated community.
The National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) was an effort to open the doors of their classroom, a kind of intellectual philanthropic movement in a country where the electric growth of engineering colleges has been inversely proportional to the overall quality of technology education.

"For the first time, we decided to have an outreach programme to benefit thousands of other engineering colleges. Technology, we knew, can be a leveller, " said Ashok Misra, former IIT-Bombay director.

The NPTEL architect was a feisty man - former IIT-Madras director MS Ananth. The idea germinated in 1999, at the same time when the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, too, thought of OpenCourse-Ware, which displays lecture notes, previous exams and study materials offered to MIT students for anyone to access, unlike, say, Vanderbilt's Online Access to Knowledge which is restricted to Vanderbilt University students.

But funding came in a bit late and NPTEL finally took off only in 2003. There were some fundamentals that needed to be addressed: the experiment was undoubtedly large, but it also needed to be resourceful to any engineering student, irrespective of the university s/he attended. Also NPTEL courses had to cater to all students, regardless of what they picked up in their college;so NPTEL could not just be a clone of the efforts put in by several Western universities, which were more focussed on enrichment or merely providing the basic raw material.

"So, after nine months of internal academic quarrelling, we developed a national syllabus for all the courses that could satisfy the needs of any university, " said Ananth.

There was a lot of buzz going on in the backrooms of IITs, which did not even have digital studios for a dream that was so ambitious. So, the tech colleges proposed to develop web-based courses, just hours and hours of audio.
But the then HRD minister Murli Manohar Joshi felt the idea would not click with rural students, who needed to see the faces of their teachers.

Hence step one of the flowchart of the NPTEL programme was to build digital labs in all the IITs. "When the idea was shared with faculty members, there was phenomenal participation from them, as it was thought to be a service. If 325 faculty members made up the army for phase one, we now have over 1, 000 heroes developing content for the second phase, " added Ananth.
Presently, the seven IITs, as part of the NPTEL project, have provided online access to 260 courses, each with over 40 hours of lectures. The Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, partnered with them in drawing up syllabi for these streams. These are in two forms - digitally-taped classroom lectures, and web-based lecture material, besides links to high-end research works available under the NPTEL (www. nptel. iitm. ac. in) project.

The HRD ministry put in Rs 20 crore for the first phase of the NPTEL project. Over a 1, 000 courses - in engineering, science and humanities - are being developed in the second phase that will close by December 2012.
NPTEL is now on YouTube;in fact it boasted of the largest viewership till last April, following which Facebook took over, is the IIT faculty's claim.

Kannan Moudgalya, who headed the distance engineering education programme at IIT-B and worked with NPTEL, said, "Students from all over the world log on to NPTEL today. Our reward is their feedback. "

The grand end, of course hasn't been accomplished - when NPTEL scholars will be able to graduate and get a degree through a virtual university that the IITs have proposed.

Reader's opinion (1)

Aalok.bhan Feb 27th, 2012 at 08:52 AM

This is a great initiative. Infact, why is it that a similar initiative is not being provided for in Management education.
Why should good education be only available to the intelligent students. I urge Himali to focus on driving this agenda with the Industry and the academia. I will help her.

 
Other Times Group news sites
The Times of India | The Economic Times
इकनॉमिक टाइम्स | ઈકોનોમિક ટાઈમ્સ
Mumbai Mirror | Times Now
Indiatimes | नवभारत टाइम्स
महाराष्ट्र टाइम्स
Living and entertainment
Timescity | iDiva | Bollywood | Zoom
| Technoholik | MensXP.com

Networking

itimes | Dating & Chat | Email
Hot on the Web
Hotklix
Services
Book print ads | Online shopping | Business solutions | Book domains | Web hosting
Business email | Free SMS | Free email | Website design | CRM | Tenders | Remit
Cheap air tickets | Matrimonial | Ringtones | Astrology | Jobs | Property | Buy car
Online Deals
About us | Advertise with us | Terms of Use and Grievance Redressal Policy | Privacy policy | Feedback
Copyright© 2010 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service