With more than two-lakh students, it is impossible for Delhi University’s School of Open Learning (SOL) to conduct regular classes for them. SOL, however, makes it up by providing excellent study material over textbooks prescribed by the university.
The study material is prepared not only by our teachers but also by external experts, said Dinesh Gupta, deputy director, South Study Centre, SOL. “We try to incorporate all the elements of classroom teaching in the study material. For instance, in Hindi poetry, I put in interesting facts about the poet, mention the use of certain words, the life of the poet etc,” said Gupta.
<b1>“SOL’s study material is also used by teachers in DU colleges to add value to their classroom teaching,” Gupta said. He added the school was in the process of establishing its audio-visual centre that would prepare audio-tapes at the undergraduate level in various subjects.
The school is also making an effort to hand over study material at the earliest, thus cushioning the problem of delayed and misplaced material sent over post. “We are giving out course material simultaneously with the admissions since the last two years. Only if we don’t have a particular subject or course, we mail it to the student at a later date,” said Gupta.
The Personal Contact Programme (PCP) includes regular classroom lectures and discussion at various PCP centres for a specified period each year. “For undergraduate honours courses it is 25 days, for pass courses it is 20 days and for postgraduate courses we have 30 classes in a year,” said Gupta.
He admitted these might not be enough for students. “We encourage students to come to the university and consult teachers. They can clarify doubts and ask for extra help,” Gupta said.
Another priority is improving access to its seven-storey library with a collection of over five lakh books and 80 journals. “We update our library regularly and have some of the best journals including the Harvard Business Review," said Madan Lal, library in-charge. “The reading room is open on weekends to help students. We also have a book bank scheme where poor students can borrow textbooks for a year,” Lal said.
The library will soon be automated with an online catalogue and easy access. A lift will also be installed.
However, the test of quality of teaching-learning process lies in the performance of students. For the last many years SOL has been producing toppers. “Last year the BA (Pass) topper was from our school. Nidhi Rajkumar topped in English (H) a couple of years back. Even in PG courses our students have secured ranks in DU,” said Gupta.
As per course revision, SOL follows the DU syllabus. “As and when courses are updated by the Academic Council we implement the changes,” Gupta said.