Innovation in Open and Distance Learning for K-12 and Higher Education | digitalLEARNING Magazine
August 2012

Innovation in Open and Distance Learning for K-12 and Higher Education

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ICT Based Agri- Education

 

Implementing Agency
University of Colombo Institute for Agrotechnology and Rural Sciences.

Website
www.uciars.cmb.ac.lk

Agriculture is the mainstay of the rural sector in Sri Lanka. Farmers are resource poor and face constraints in gaining access to information and knowledge that could improve their crop productivity. To expose rural farmer to knowledge, University of Colombo has built an Online Diploma in Agro-technology in local languages. This is the first-ever attempt by Sri Lankan university system for giving opportunity for farmers to pursue further education through Open and distance learning. A prototype was developed and implemented with farmers all around the country.

Objective

To open new avenues to the rural farming community <

 Target Group:
Farmers, young entrepreneurs from rural areas, agriculture related professionals

Achievements
• Many Sri Lankan Farmers have started to use e-mail and internet information search
• Government authorities became to be aware of expansion need of the program

 Challenges:
 The difference in the age and levels of qualification of the farmers was a cause of many problems. This was solved by providing the farmers with one month of training in basic computational skills. Most farmers lacked computing skills, so we had to organise workshops to train them. Basic English language skills also had to be imparted.


Online Education

  Implementing Agency
Marss Education Private Limited

Website
www.imiedu.in

Marss, through its various initiatives like the Indian Management Institute, is working with Indian Universities for building digital courses and curriculum to meet the demands of the industry. The courses, the pedagogy, the methodology and the content, produced by the Indian Management Institute, are contemporary, relevant, practical, industry aligned and deep rooted. The online learning platform of Marss, complete with a host of audiovisual
content provides an excellent flexible learning platform to the students.

Objective
• To provide best quality education to the students
• To reach out to the under privileged areas, tribal section
• To realise vision of creating and crafting the University as a centre of excellence in education

Achievements
• Courses are based on the latest syllabi that is industry oriented, versatile and cover the latest technology of the stream.

Target Group:
Working professionals and fresh graduates.

Challenges:
A key challenge is related to the lack of penetration of computers. The organisation is attempting to  overcome this problem by offering free laptops or tablets to the students who enrol for the course. It is a challenge to convince people that online education can lead to betterment of knowledge and the thinking process. Now that IMI is providing university degree to its students, there is a new recognition of the value in distance education.


The e-Learning Platform

Implementing Agency
Sikkim Manipal University


Website
www.smude.edu.in

The EduNxt platform is an easy to use delivery system. It enables a collaborative and interactive environment for learning and includes small group mentoring, virtual classrooms, simulation, self-study content, recorded presentations and shared browsing.With a reach of over 400,000 students enrolled across 825 learning centres in India, EduNxt is the pinnacle of learning management system in India.

Objective:
To open a channel of communication between the 400 thousand students on the rolls of SMU-DDE in India.

Achievements:
• The EduNxt environment has shown a 260 percent growth in usage over the last year
• Students, Faculty and Industry Experts on a Single platform.

Target Group:
Students pursuing Higher Education at the Graduation and Post-Graduation Levels. Age Group – 18 to 50.

Challenges: It is a cause of concern that many of the students are not inclined towards usage of modern technology. As large percentage of our students are working professionals, they need access to their learning environment and their mentor’s during non-working hours. We addressed this by putting large number of content online which can be accessible anytime anywhere.

 


The e-Connect

Implementing Agency
Lovely Professional University (LPU)

Website
www.lpu.in

LPU e-Connect is a strong and secure online connection and common platform, specially made to cater to the needs of Distance Learners, that links the University, its study centres and its students located at different parts of the country and the globe. Based on enterprise web portal technology, it automates all the processes of distance education and minimizes the physical differences by providing 24×7 accessibility through its various useful features.

Objective:
To make online connection a boon for the students by providing them personalised learning environment.

Achievements:
• The University is able to save papers by developing completely paperless system of operation
• The system is now being used by more than 16000 users

Target Group:
Students and staff members at institutions.

Challenges:
Initially it was a challenge to provide help and support to many students based at study centres in different parts of the country. There was too much load on the server at some points of time. So we had to bring about improvement in the server architecture and set up clusters of servers at the backend. Bandwidth was also improved to ensure smooth functioning of the system. The acceptance of the system by end users is also important. Addressing the security and privacy related concerns was also a challenge.

 


e-Examination System

 Implementing Agency
Punjab Agricultural University

Website
www.pau.edu

Web based Examination System is secured with IP based policy and students are allocated with roll numbers for logging into the system. The Online Examination System is a web based application developed through an open source MySQL and PHP solutions. This customised software has been developed for dual degree students of PAU. This is run from an In–House Apache Webserver on their internal network. The examination consists of different types of multiple choice questions and subjective questions. The questions and time to attempt are fixed. The answers are evaluated and the marks obtained for each along with the answer given by the student are stored in the database. The examiner can get the results immediately. The software maintains the details for each student as well as provides a facility for editing the student details if required. There is password based access for individual answer sheets and general mark lists. This Online Examination System in PHP and MySQL can be modified and customized to suit the need of any Educational Institutions, Primary and Secondary Schools, Colleges, Professional and Vocational Institutes, Universities or Training Academies.

Objective:
To automatethe  examination procedure

Achievements:
• Online Sharing of Data, Records and information
• The system is now used by more than 10000 users


 Spreading Education

Implementing Agency:
Gedaref digital city organisation

Website:
www.community.telecentre.org/photo/albums/idea

Gedaref digital city organisation (GDCO) is a civil society in Sudan founded in partnership between Gedaref and Eindhoven communities. GDCO established projects target the illiterate children and young who are often outside the umbrella of mainstream education providers. The students study for two years and then are accommodated in fourth grade in e-school. After eight years of study, the student is given an international certificate from the Sudan National Telecentre academy (SuNTA) from the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in India.

 Objective:
Connecting the unconnected in rural communities

Achievements:
• Added value e-services including agriculture extension, e-Sheppard, e-tanker, telemedicine
• Utilisation of Telecentres to reduce the cost of education and improve its quality

Target Group:
Children, youth, women and people with disability

Challenges:
The major challenge we faced is due to the fact that ICT is not part of our culture and it is not a priority. The poverty in the country also makes it difficult to undertake such projects for education. The cost of e-infrastructure is relatively high. At times children in rural areas are engaged in bringing water from  the river, so they hardly have the time to read and learn. Overcoming the digital divide is a challenge.

 


Elevating Employability


Implementing Agency
Aide – et – Action India

Website:
www.aide-et-action.org,
www.aeasouthasia.org

ILEAD tries to address the employment concerns of one half of the world’s poor who live in South Asia. Skills training is offered in about 30 areas, including Information Technology, Hospitality, Dress designing, Secretarial training, Beautician courses, Mobile Phone services and repair.

Objective:
To bring about a reduction in the number of households living below the poverty line Achievements  iLEAD along with Aide et Action has trained various international organisations like American Indian Foundation, Children International and a few others.

Achievements:
iLEAD along with Aide et Action has trained various international organisations like American Indian Foundation, Children International and a few others

Target Group: School and College drop-out youth from disadvantaged sections of the society between 18 – 25 years
of age.

Challenges:
Youth having biased choices of courses – The youth many a times tend to choose courses under the influence of either the family or friends. Such a selection of course leads to a mismatch between the skills of the youth and the course. Also it becomes difficult for the youth to retain in the course or on the job. To avoid this kind of a biased selection of courses, iLEAD has developed an Aptitude test for the youth. Along with the aptitude test, the youth are counseled about the course and the market demand.

 


Digi-library

 Implementing Agency
SoftTech Engineers Pvt Ltd

Website
www.elearningsofttech.com

SoftTech offers digital learning library covering more than 100 subjects in Vocational education streams. Vocational education covers skills as recommended by National Vocational Training under Director General of Employment & Training. These can be used by institutes and students to achieve their education/training objectives.

Objective:
• To bridge the gap between academic curricula and industry expectations.
• To bridge the gap in availability of qualified faculty in remote institutions.

Achievements:
• Success in generating more employable resources for the industry
• Adoption in ITIs from Himachal Pradesh

Target Group:
Vocational Institutes, Students.

Challenges:
Teachers from institutes were reluctant to adopt the new technology. SoftTech invested significant efforts to create awareness on its value as an effective learning and reinforcement tool which complements the role of teachers. Support to remote clients about installation was a big task due to lack of basic computer knowledge. Company has taken local support to overcome this issue. Later on remote applications are used to solve the problems. Due to variation in the syllabi throughout India there are difficulties in marketing of the digital library.

 


Education for The Professional

  Implementing Agency
Suryadatta Group of Institutes

Website
www.suryadatta.org

Suryadatta Group is devoted to vocational education programmes. The organisation has taken number of initiatives such as Computer Literacy Programme for Senior Citizens, Workshop by Mumbai Dabbawala, English & IT Awareness  Programme for Auto Rickshaw drivers etc. Suryadatta Group has hosted many activities spreading awareness amongst society as regards to fatal issues, inculcating employability skills etc.

Objective:
To enhance self esteem and improve the career prospects of participants

Achievements:
• These programme helped participants to enhance their self esteem
• The programmes increased employment opportunities for participants.

Target Group:
Housewives, school children, senior citizens, auto drivers, and other needy sections of society.

Challenges:
The idea of providing computer literacy to poorer sections is quite difficult as they have education related constraints and also time related issues. It takes lot of time and effort to help them develop the right kind of concepts. Even senior citizens find it difficult to pick up computer related skills.

 


Virtual Learning

Implementing Agency
Virtual Voyage Institute Of Design, Media and Management

Website
www.virtualvoyageworld.com

Virtual Voyage Institute of Media and Management is striving to provide world class training to students. The institute is focussed on creating job-ready individuals, who are skilled enough to work in modern industry. During the education process, the students are given ample opportunity to interact with industry.

Objective:
Virtual Voyage believes that concentrated production work combined with industry lead to better results

Achievements:
Seminars in different fields to provide participants exposure to industry.

Target Group:
Virtual Voyage is focused on central provinces of India. We cater to the students and professionals from in and around Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

Challenges:
The major challenge we have faced is linked to the fact that today’s youth and their parents are mostly unaware of the vocational stream of growth in the Industry the career opportunities that lie in it. A lot of interest and acumen is required to get the best out of these fields. People are more inclined to pick up traditional courses and they simply run after meaningless degrees. Spoken English, soft skills and communication are also a major barrier.

 


 The Mind Enhancer

 Implementing Agency
Brainwave educationconsultants

Website
www.brainwaveeducations.com

The self modulated programme named THOUGHTWEB and FLEXILEARN have been specially designed to facilitate psychological upliftment of people of all ages and professions. It provides training for handling of interviews and public
speaking.

Objective:
To extract life skill  with self help to induce the right moral values through motivational speaking

Achievements:
• Above 10,000 students trained since last 10 years
• Interview cracking has become far more easier
• Adolescents feel more comfortable in the classroom
• Teacher student relationship has become more conducive

Target Group:
People Of All Age Groups, Castes, Sex and Creed

Challenges:
The adamant attitude of some village folks was a big challenge for us. Lot of counselling had to be done to overcome this problem. Also the senior students tend to be argumentative; then there is the issue of too much interference by the parents. Availability of adequately qualified staff was also a cause of concern during the initial stages.

 

 


 

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