Aview - Video Conferencing Tool

Secretary, Dept. of Higher Education, MHRD interacts with 60 VCs using A-VIEW 22 February, 2013

Shri Ashok Thakur and Prof Kamal Bijlani interacting with VCs

Shri Ashok Thakur, Secretary, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), interacted with around 60 Vice Chancellors of the leading Universities through A-VIEW on Friday, 22nd February 2013. These 60 Universities have approximately 12,000 colleges affiliated to them.

Addressing the senior academicians, Shri. Thakur urged them to start using A-VIEW for enhancing the quality of education in their Universities and affiliated colleges. He further stated that “in the 12th five year plan, we have a major allocation for the national teaching mission and we should be using this software (A-VIEW) for improving the quality of teachers and also to run programs especially in the remote and inaccessible parts of the country like north east, hilly areas and coastal areas”. He also mentioned that Ministry of HRD has already started using A-VIEW in a fairly large

way for online meetings with the heads of institutions like IITs and NITs.

A-VIEW (Amrita Virtual Interactive E-Learning World) is an internet based virtual knowledge sharing platform, developed by Amrita E-Learning Research Lab, Amrita University, Kollam, Kerala. It enables distance education and online meetings using various basic communication modules like Audio/Video, Whiteboard collaboration, Document sharing and Chat. It addresses one of the most critical issues of India's Higher Education system today: Millions of students wanting to learn, but not fortunate enough to have well-qualified teachers to train them. With A-VIEW one good teacher can teach tens of thousands of students simultaneously at different locations all over India, as though in person.

A-VIEW has already been deployed at more than 450 Universities and 2000 colleges across the country, covering 31 states. According to Prof. Kamal Bijilani, Director, E-Learning Research Lab, “A-VIEW enables an expert teacher to reach out to several students”. He also mentioned that “A-VIEW advantage is it is given free from the Ministry of HRD, you can contribute to the content and it is designed for education in India”. “It runs on Aakash tablets, Linux, Macintosh; can be used for classrooms and meetings and has features such as Chat, quiz and polling, record and playback, whiteboard, document sharing, 2D and 3D. It can be used at multiple bandwidths”. Prof. Bijlani said.

A-VIEW has been developed specifically for India’s educational system, keeping in mind our multiple languages, poor infrastructure, lack of IT skills among the teachers and also the low bandwidth in rural and semi urban areas. Ministry of HRD provides this software, training and a central server to all Universities and Colleges free of cost, through Amrita University. For conducting classes through A-VEW, institutions only need to have the basic infrastructure such as projector, audio and video, speakers, camera and internet connection with 1 MB bandwidth.

Comments from the participants

NITTR- Kolkata

We have conducted 3 program so far using A-VIEW - 2 for training teachers of polytechnics and one on computer networking. We are satisfied with A-VIEW software; we are using it and we also plan to conduct more number of courses through ICT mode in the next calendar year.

Prof. Dinesh Singh, VC, Delhi University

A-VIEW is magical software. We have been using this for connectivity between the north campus and the south campus. I expect that by April or May, we will have A-VIEW installed in all colleges so that they can talk to each other, use their classes and lectures and latch onto other methods and procedures of other institutions for their own benefit. I welcome this idea and we are delighted by it”

VC, Pondicherry University

“A-VIEW is really wonderful. We have had 2 of our finance committee meetings with your good self (Mr. Ashok Thakur) through this mode earlier. We also had a national workshop. Online training is going on. However, I have a few requests to you. The request is you have been very kind and A-VIEW has been free to the university. There is only one link which is provided to us. We are in a place like Portblar where the connectivity should be established. For that we would request another link to us for the remote area of Andaman Nicobar where our campus feeds to the larger education population there. If that would be possible thorough your connectivity, we would look forward to have a link to our Portblar campus and Karaikkal Campus which are the remote tribal areas which we want to cater to. Otherwise, we are very happy with this system. We will undoubtedly go ahead with our affiliated colleges wherein we have asked them to equip themselves so that in near future we will be in touch with them through A-VIEW.

Dr.Rajpal S Hande , University of Mumbai

“ System(A-VIEW) is working very well at our end. We have almost 300 colleges and I am happy to inform you that we are going to have our own server shortly. I am happy to inform that we are going to have our own server, the work is going on so that we would like to have our own thing telecasted everywhere. At present the university is running a program known as EYES (enlighten yourself every Saturday) and we telecast this program to all colleges through A-VIEW.

Dr. Bekington Myrboh, Pro VC, North Eastern Hill University, Shillong

It is a very attractive program especially for us here in the remote areas. We do have around 100 colleges affiliated to us and they are all in remote places. This kind of facility will really help us a lot . We do also have an extended campus at Thura, which is also very far. Our main campus is in Shillong. This will be very helpful because we can have a lecture in Shillong and the same lecture can be listened at the same time in Thura.

Dr. Somnath Das Gupta, VC, Assam University

We are starting with it. We have several options because we have about 59 affiliated colleges in the remote places which can be connected through A-VIEW. We are starting now and within a few months, we will be fully operational. We are also opening our distance education department where A-VIEW will be a big help as well.

Dr.Sandhya Kode, Director- IIIT, Hyderabad

“We have been partnering with Amrita University and A-VIEW right from it’s beta testing version and have been an active participant in asking for more and more features so that we can do other things and next in line is animations so that we actually do all our live teacher training programs including the animations. We have used A-VIEW for conducting teacher training programs, workshops and student orientations at colleges. We have also used A-VIEW for beaming out our technology for education conference last summer. We are looking forward to many more versions of A-VIEW which will help in actually doing online learning in a better way”.

Prof. Sudhir Meshram, North Maharashtra University

“We appreciate the initiative taken by MHRD in this regard. Our affiliated colleges are predominately located in tribal areas and we cater to 1.5L students. Whatever the support and assistance that we require, we will put forward to you.

Prof. Trivedi, VC, Rajiv Gandhi Technical University , Bhopal

It is a great opportunity for a university like us, which is an affiliating university and we are looking forward to have a virtual private network also so that we can connect in between also and have a seamless flow of information.”

Prof. Sheela Ramachandran,VC,Avinashalingam University,Coimbatore

A-VIEW is a wonderful virtual networking system. Coimbatore is not very well connected by flights and when speakers are not willing to come to Coimbatore, we are able to access them through A-VIEW.”

Prof. Abdul Salam, VC, Calicut University

“ Let me congratulate MHRD and Amrita University first. I think you are creating revolution here in this country; education revolution through digital revolution. I have 374 colleges and 300,000 students. My anxiety is how quickly I can reach out to all students and teachers through this software. My question is how best MHRD and Amrita University can help us in hastening the process of taking the software to the students, colleges and teachers”

Dr. Prem Kumar, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bangalore

Independently, We have thought of such a project to connect all our institutions through an e-learning platform. Now that we know about A-VIEW, we will explore the possibility of utilizing A-VIEW either to supplement or supplant the present thinking that we have and we will try to make best use of the facility to spread the e-learning process to all our institutions”.

Dr. Maheshappa, VC, VTU, Karnataka

“First of all, we appreciate the innovative initiative by A-VIEW team. We will shortly implement A-VIEW in our VTU domain. I would like to have your complete support for implementing this innovative program in our VTU domain”.

Prof. Lakshman Chaturvedi, Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya Bilaspur

I am feeling really excited to have this landmark. We are going to have every department as a smart classroom and we are connected to NKN globally. We have done a lot and are planning to have our executive council meeting also on A-VIEW. We are moving fast on this direction. We thank MHRD and Amrita University for providing this facility which will be a revolution in the field of quality education area.

Vidyasagar University

We want to organize NME-ICT workshop in our campus to popularize NME-ICT initiatives.

Prof. M.G.Krishnan, VC, Karnataka State Open University

Our clientele is primarily rural based. We have 3L students, primarily rural oriented. How do you think we can reach out to them through A-VIEW?

Prof. Kalyan Kumar Datta, Jadavpur University

I am bit new with A-VIEW software, but I know the work of Amrita and others in the e-learning area. I am delighted that this software works very well though it’s new to me. I think it has got a very good reach to the remotest place and I definitely hope this will be a good tool to use in the teaching media. My question is within the university using our own server; can we run A-VIEW software? We also want Amrita University to come and give training to our faculty members on A-VIEW so that we can sensitize people in this particular area.

Director, NITTR, Bhopal

We are extremely privileged to be able to use this wonderful technology. We have already put this technology to use for teachers, particularly polytechnic and engineering college teachers in the country. At the moment, we are operating through a network of 40 RCs and at each RC, faculty members gather to attend faculty development programs. Amrita University has extended all cooperation and support for setting up this network. They have even provided the soft control panel for configuring the classrooms. Overall, this has been a very wonderful experience. We have also scheduled more program through which we hope to reach out to 700-800 teachers in a short while from now.

Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar Open Univeristy

This initiative taken by MHRD and A-VIEW is appreciated a lot. We have been using this, particularly in the bachelor of library science program. We are an open university and our centers are at remote locations. We have conducted an induction meeting for the students and informed all the students about the university and the functions of the university.

Vice Chancellor, Kashmir University

We have lots of colleges, about 140 and many of them are in remote areas like Ladakh and Kargil. So, we need some sort of special arrangement which I would like my team to have more interaction and find out how effective it is going to be for Kashmir and Ladakh. We have EMMRC and distance education where I think this is going to be very effective. But, definitely, we need some sort of special package for the university from MHRD so that this can be implemented very well.

Dr. Arun Jamkar, vice Chancellor, Maharashtra University of Health Science

We have 311 colleges. Around 90 of our colleges have gone for this software right now. We have the teaching departments at the head quarters and then we have the regional centers. And then we have 2 components, one in the college and one in the hospital. Everywhere, we can use this software. We have 2 more set ups. Another component of the system is library. We can use it in library also. Then, this technology will be lot of help for monitoring of the examination system. Again, 3 D animations is of the most useful thing in medicine and health. Can we think of having A-VIEW workshops so that our people are formally trained in how to use this technology best?

Registrar, Jammu University

We have 10 offside Campuses. Through this technology, we want our experienced faculty should be able to deliver to these campuses and we also want to know in what other ways can this university can make a part of this program and contribute to the best of it’s capacity for the entire nation and your venture