How does it feel to attend classes in India’s most sought-after institution? Find out on YouTube.
For the last month, 13 video courses in science and engineering of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) have been on free trial runs on YouTube (youtube.com/nptelhrd.com). So, you can sit in Ahmedabad or Amsterdam and login in to 40 streaming hours of IIT classroom teaching video. Even classes at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, will get on YouTube soon.
<b1>"The video courses will be permanently posted on the site after the project is firmed up in less than one month," said Mangala Sunder Krishnan, coordinator of web, IIT-Madras. Come March, 110 video courses, spanning 40 hours, will be ready for viewing.
The project is part of the National Project on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL), a joint venture between the seven IITs and IISc, funded by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
Taking a cue from US universities who post course content on YouTube, Krishnan said, “Since our bandwidth is low and a bigger one is more expensive, we decided to experiment with YouTube. Not only will this be available online, it will be free.”
Free online education is being seen as a means to fill the vacuum left by an acute shortage of teachers in various disciplines, and the fact that only 10 per cent of India’s five lakh engineering students are “employable”.
NPTEL will also allow colleges to use the course material for in-house students, to help students without Internet access.
"While it will be free for government-aided institutions, private institutions will be charged a one-time fee of Rs 1 lakh,” said Krishnan.
With SNDT Women’s University becoming NPTEL’s “user institute” on Wednesday, 220 of its affiliated colleges will be able to access the course content online. University Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor SS Mantha said: “By March end, all 110 course contents will be viewed online by our students. We will also create course content for NPTEL in disciplines like pharmacy, nursing and management."