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Setting up Remote Centers 05 September, 2012

Dr. Deepak Phatak, Principal Investigator of "Train the Trainer" Program and Subrao M. Nilekani Chair Professor, Department of CSE, IIT Bombay interacted with universities as part of the National Weekly Interaction Program on "How a College/University can become a Remote Center for Large Online Classes using A-VIEW" on 5th September 2012.

Setting up of Remote Centers

What are Remote Centers?

Remote Centers are training venues where 40 to 50 teachers can assemble to attend an online training session using A-VIEW.

Teachers attend lectures digitally at Remote Centers through A-VIEW and later take lab sessions, experiments, tutorials and test papers locally with the help of workshop co-ordinators, who are subject experts and well trained teachers themselves.

10,000 teachers training

In the recently conducted 10,000 teacher-training workshop, 168 such remote centers were set up. Dr. Phatak said IIT Bombay plans to conduct such 10,000 teacher training programs using A-VIEW regularly in the future. There are plans to conduct 15 such workshops in next two years. This program is being named "T10KT" after "Train 10k Teachers". IIT Kharagpur has partnered with IIT Bombay for this endeavour. Eventually there would be almost 500 Remote Centers set up for this purpose.

Pre-requisites for a Remote Center

Only Engineering Colleges with Under Graduate, Post Graduate and Research Programs can become Remote Centers. These colleges should have good infrastructure and great facilities such as:

  • Air Conditioned classrooms that can accommodate 50 to 80 participants
  • Good video projectors and microphones
  • Machines with internet connection of average 1Mbps bandwidth to connect to A-VIEW
  • Infrastructure to conduct experiments
  • Capability to accommodate participating teachers

Dr. Phatak mentioned that there should be faculty members assigned as Remote Center co-ordinators who make sure that all equipments are working well before an important session. "Eventually, every city in the country should have one remote center," he added.

Colleges can log on to www.it.iitb.ac.in/nmeict to nominate themselves as remote centers.

Way forward

In the long term, at least 5500 Engineering Colleges should become Remote Centers. Colleges with larger infrastructure and better research capabilities such as IITs and NITs could work as "Nodal Centers" and manage around 30 to 50 Remote Centers each.

Dr. Phatak also said "Engineering colleges apart from imparting engineering education and conducting research can become active catalyst to encourage teachers of all other colleges - Arts, Science, Commerce, Law, Medicine etc. to arrange training using this technology on a large scale"

Answering a question, Dr. Phatak said that A-VIEW is a proven software and it works. He compared the professionalism at A-VIEW to that of big companies like IBM and Microsoft.

Thirteen universities including IIIT Hyderabad and Amrita University participated in this discussion. Prof. Kamal Bijlani, Director – Amrita E-learning Research Lab and Dr. Venkat Rangan, Vice Chancellor – Amrita University also interacted with Dr. Phatak.

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 free of cost 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.