From distance learning, we come to distributed learning, said Prof. Srivathsan, Pro VC, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) while launching the International Division (ID) portal, designed and developed jointly by the Advanced Centre for Informatics & Innovative Learning (ACIIL) and the International Division of the university in the Electronic and Media Production Centre (EMPC) of IGNOU. The division has now launched a state-of-art web portal offering services of various types and at different levels to both students and Partner Institutions (PI). It provides support for better programme coordination as well as guidelines for those interested in working with IGNOU and is complimented by a Wiki area that allows PIs to publish information and interact with their students. For students already enrolled and for prospective learners, the portal has a list of programmes currently on offer with all details; support services for registration and evaluation; a query management system and a space for interaction in the form of community blogs and discussion forums. There is also a list of PIs that students access by clicking on the relevant links. IGNOU has been a little traditional, depending upon printed study materials. Its time it also comes ahead in the technical field. Earlier it was in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode but now, it can reach into your pockets through internet. Access to content is now easy even for international students. We ensure that now IGNOU keeps pace with the changing time. Open Programme Guide/ Open Course Guide (OPG/OCG) is a crucial part of Vedyadhara framework, one of the salient feature of the portal. It enables students/ lecturers to go through the online study materials in form of online blocks for each programme and individual course,” he said. The International Division of IGNOU coordinates all the academic programmes that the university offers, brings the support systems under one umbrella and liaises with learners abroad as well as international students doing IGNOU courses in India. Internationally, IGNOU programmes are offered through PIs in various countries. At the moment, there are over 40,000 students studying in 40 countries, supported through 67 PIs. “IGNOU started offering programmes to international students in 1994. The university realizes the need to interact with its students. It feels that accounting for academic activities is necessary now, which is why the need to launch a platform for interaction arised. The ID portal is a tailored product for prospective learners and for those already pursuing it. The first phase of this portal is to make updated information available to the international students. It talks about programmes offered to international students, assists them, solves their queries, manages a date calendar for academic activities, offers a blog with respect to programmes and separate categories of PI,” said Prof. Kusum Sharma, Director, ID, IGNOU. “Contemporary and traditional courses like programme on Gandhian Studies would be much in demand from international students rather than Indian. Our counselors can deliver online lectures, allowing e-learning and social networking for each course,” the Pro VC added.