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Engg teachers go back to school (The Times of India) 21 January 2010

In December 2009, the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) started training faculty members from engineering colleges via satellite television. On Monday, they launched an online national-level teacher training empowerment programme. The institute has tied up with Tamil Nadu-based Amrita University for the online module that will have over 1,000 teachers from 500 engineering colleges across the country participating through 32 nodal centres.

The current workshop is two weeks long and focuses on database management systems. This is the first time that a course of this scale is been conducted for over 1,000 participants.

There are three lakh students who learn database management systems and there are 15,000 teachers who teach it. Therefore, there is a need for trained faculty.

"It is gratifying to see that my dream to empower thousands of college teachers in core engineering courses has been realised," said professor DB Phatak, the driving force of the initiative.

The programme is funded by the National Mission on Education via Information and Communication Technology (NME-ICT, Ministry of Human Resource Development).

"Our goal is to improve the quality of teachers and make higher education accessible to everyone," said NK Sinha, additional secretary, HRD ministry.

This model seeks to eventually lead to the launch of open source subject portals. These subject-wise portals will contain teaching-learning material, question banks, audio-video-recorded lectures. It will permit online interaction between students, teachers, and professionals. The elite engineering institute is also pioneering an 'Ask a Question' series that allows any student to post their conceptual questions online and get live answers from experts.