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IITs plan virtual classes

Students from the new Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) will soon be connected to their mentors virtually.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2009 00:54 IST
Snehal Rebello

Students from the new Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) will soon be connected to their mentors virtually.

Three of the old IITs — Bombay, Madras and Guwahati — hand-holding the new institutes at Gandhinagar, Hyderabad and Patna respectively will mentor students through video-conferencing.

The first demo, to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will be held this week.

This means students in a classroom at IIT-Gandhinagar will listen to professors deliver lectures, derive formulae and make calculations at IIT-Bombay in real time. Students can get their doubts clarified instantly.

The arrangement is critical to maintaining the reputable IIT standard as the new institutes were started without infrastructure or faculty in place. “Recruitments are on at the new IITs, but the faculty is young. Video-conferencing will help students gain access to experienced faculty from the old IITs,” said IIT-Guwahati director Gautam Barua.

This initiative — the National Knowledge Network — has been recommended by the Sam-Pitroda led National Knowledge Commission, which aims to link educational institutes across India and exploit resource pools.

The plan is to continue with video-conferencing even after the new IITs have full staff strength. “It will benefit students as they will have access to more experienced professors in their specialisations,” said an IIT-B professor.

Once successful, the remote classrooms will be extended to other new IITs.