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Bridging Distances across India: The teach 1000 teachers project and beyond 17 October, 2011

Dr. Mukta Atrey

Dr. Mukta Atrey, Project Manager – Ekalavya, IIT Bombay led the Weekly Discussion on 17th October 2012 via A-VIEW with her talk on “Bridging Distances across India: The teach 1000 teachers project and beyond”.

Why teacher empowerment?

Currently, there are over 5200 Engineering colleges in India. The number of students taking Engineering courses is also going up on a yearly basis. This has led to fall in quality of education. Also, teachers have very few opportunities to enhance their skills.

The teacher empowerment program was initiated by IIT Bombay in December 2009 under NME-ICT, MHRD to equip Engineering college teachers with the knowledge and techniques to handle Engineering and Science subjects.

Initially the program was delivered via EDUSAT. Following the discontinuation of EDUSAT, the program has been delivered via A-VIEW. 11 empowerment workshops on various engineering subjects have been conducted till date, through which over 17,000 teachers have been trained.

Remote Centers

The workshops are conducted at Remote Centers. Remote Centers are institutes with adequate faculty, infrastructure and facilities for conducting classes via A-VIEW to hundreds of teachers at from neighboring colleges.

Each Remote Center needs to have a Remote Center Coordinator, a faculty member assigned by the head of the institute, for ensuring the smooth conduct of the workshop.

Remote Centers also need to have Workshop coordinators, subject matter experts for a particular workshop. They should be able to guide the participants and solve doubts during a workshop.

Methodology

IITB and Workshop coordinators decide on the content of the workshop. Several factors such as operation of A-VIEW, clicker and disaster management (on events like power failure) are discussed.

Before a workshop, it is advertised on the IITB website, where participants can register themselves. IIT Bombay funds the workshop at all the Remote Centers.

Tools

The workshop is delivered via A-VIEW, the framework that provides interactive social environment for e-learning which helps in communicating and interacting with people at different places. Dr. Atrey says, "Reach that this software has given us is tremendous"

Moodle, an open source e-learning platform, is used for interaction between the participants and with the IIT faculty. It is also used for quizzes, assignments and practice questions.

Clicker, a handheld device is used for collecting responses from the students. It is also used for quizzes and polls. It is planned to use Clicker for attendance in the future.

Aakash Tablets, the development of which is now officially transferred to IIT Bombay, will be used in the future for all open source applications and digital content for the workshop. There are plans to integrate all applications like Moodle and A-VIEW with Aakash.

Proxymity, a multimedia tool shall be used for all audio/ visual lectures and visual rich media content. This tool can be used for slides and lecture videos which shall be synchronized on time line.

The classes are distributed digitally via a Creative Commons license, which allows the users to video tape the lectures and the participants for future use.

Future Plans

IIT Bombay is collaborating with IIT Kharagpur for teaching 10,000 teachers. The goal is to reach 150,000 teachers in the next three years through fifteen 10,000 teacher workshops in various Engineering subjects.

Dr. Atrey shall be available on mail via mukta_atrey@it.iitb.ac.in. To register your institute as a remote center, log on to http://it.iitb.ac.in/nmeict/home.do.

Around 30 universities including Nirma University, Goa University, NIT Warrangal and IIIT Hyderabad participated in the talk.

A-VIEW is an E-Learning platform, developed by Amrita University's E-Learning Research Lab, which is a state-of-the-art software for distance education and collaboration. It is available for free to all the educational institutes across India, and can be downloaded from the website address, www.aview.in or by sending an email to aview@amrita.edu.