Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
Learn by wire

Learn by wire

Author: Nandini Vaish
Publication: India Today
Date: November 5, 2009
URL: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/site/Story/69538/Learn+by+wire.html?complete=1

Introduction: Communications technology takes professors from IIT-Delhi to classrooms as far away as Ethiopia

The class of 38 students of construction engineering and management at the Department of Civil Engineering of the Addis Ababa University (AAU) in Ethiopia hums in anticipation. As the professor enters the class, the students rise to greet him. The class begins. Nothing's missing in this picture, except that the professor is 4,500 km away.

Welcome to virtual classrooms. It is no longer a concept that one hears about, but one that is happening right here, right now. The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, (IIT-D) is conducting four post-graduate courses-construction technology and management, chemical engineering, computer engineering and manufacturing engineering-for the AAU. The first two have already been taught for a semester while computer engineering and manufacturing engineering will be over in a couple of months. The initiative was started at the request of Ethiopian ambassador to India Genet Zewdie, who also approached IIT-Kanpur for a similar arrangement.

"Teachers of Indian origin are well known in Africa," says Prem Kalra, head of the Educational Technology Centre at IIT-D. "Moreover, Ethiopia puts a lot of emphasis on higher education. They even sent a few students for our master's programme here."

IIT-D's agreement with the AAU is for four years, during which it will develop curriculum, set up a laboratory and deliver lectures through both virtual classrooms as well as face-to-face. There are about six 90-minute classes each day and every programme has about 50 students. Every semester, IIT professors travel to Ethiopia to deliver lectures and interact with students. Around 46 faculty members are involved in the project and IIT-D offers up to 70 hours of instruction per week. It also evaluates the students although the degree is provided by the AAU. The institute has an international private lease circuit, a dedicated link for audio-visual transmission and two dedicated delivery rooms for classes.

This set-up is part of Ethiopia's bid to provide betterquality education to its students even though it is short of money and trained faculty. Educators in the two countries have now harnessed technology to bring education to the doorsteps of students.

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements