HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

IITs’ virtual classes a great hit with colleges

Vanita Srivastava, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 10, 2014
First Published: 23:52 IST(10/8/2014) | Last Updated: 23:59 IST(10/8/2014)

At 1 pm every Monday, Prof N Swaminathan of IIT Madras delivers a lecture on machine design, a part of the mechanical engineering division. However, his students are not from IIT, but come from the 40-50 different colleges who log on to his lectures.

“This is a good start. There are stumbling blocks, but the whole idea is to make an impact in society and this is a step in that direction,” said Prof Swaminathan, who conducts two virtual classes a week.

Venkatesh, a second year computer engineering  student of a college in Coimbatore attends a  lecture on Linear Algebra by an IIT  professor.”

I could not get admission in IIT. This interface has helped me learn from one of the best of the faculty.  It teaches us beyond the curriculum,” he said.

The Quality Enhancement in Engineering Education (QEEE), an initiative of the HRD ministry was conceptualised last year and the pilot project was launched in January. The second phase started last week.

Nearly 130 colleges have registered for the programme and 30 professors from the five traditional IITs are engaged to deliver 15 classes, 3 virtual labs — remote triggered or simulation based labs. The professors will also conduct bridge courses designed to improve the employability of students. The colleges do not have to pay for the courses and in the second phase, students will have to undertake exams.

“Our objective is to scale up the number of colleges to nearly 500,” said Prof Ashok Jhunjhunwala, chairman of committee, QEEE. Miraclyn Joyce, QEEE coordinator for Government College of Technology, Coimbatore added: “It is a good initiative. The students get a special feel of being taught by IIT professors.”

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