University Grants Commission (UGC) has been informed by Mahatma Gandhi University (MGU) that it is all set to offer regular undergraduate and postgraduate courses in online mode. This move came after the apex body of higher education stepped up its digital initiatives in the higher education sector. However, UGC’s nod is still awaited by the Varsity. The objective is to address the twin concerns of enhancing access and quality by leveraged technology and IT facilities.
In lieu of the same, the high-level delegations of the university have met the UGC officials to discuss the modalities for launching the online courses soon. The work upon the framework designed by UGC for online education was expected to be finished by July end but may take some more time now. The university has already given its views on how to launch online courses for regular undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
The courses were in demand in regions such as West Asia. In the future, the university has plans to offer an advanced level of programmes to learners through this initiative. Through this proposed e-learning programmes, the university is expected to earn up to Rs. 50 to Rs. 60 crore annually. A sub-committee of the Syndicate will study the possibilities and potential of launching online courses. The content prepared for open and distance learning courses would be digitised to offer online courses. A new learning management system would be developed to offer the programmes. The data centre of the university will be equipped to store the content for e-learning courses for the next 10 years.
The university has also requested the UGC to give green signal to the university to offer its existing regular programmes under the online mode. Vice Chancellor Babu Sebastian said, “if the UGC gives nod than fifty per cent of the examination for online courses could be conducted online. Students will have to write the remaining 50% at the designated centres of the university under MGU’s territorial jurisdiction.”
The territorial jurisdiction of MG University has been defined as the districts of Kottayam, Ernakulam, Idukki, and Kuttanad taluk of Alappuzha district and Ranni, Thiruvalla and Kozhencherry taluks of Pathanamthitta district.
In another holdover news and relevant too, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur is planning to approach institutes of higher education in eastern India to familiarize students and teachers with free online courses offered by National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL).
NPTEL is a joint initiative of the IITs and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru which offers 160 courses in various categories like agriculture, computer science, management studies, mathematics and basic science, engineering and humanities.
The biggest problem for NPTEL courses is that not only the students from eastern India, but also the colleges and universities in the region are not aware of it. While over five5 lakh students had enrolled for NPTEL courses this year, only about 7% of them were from Eastern India. If people get to know about the facility and that it is encouraged by AICTE and UGC, there will be many takers in the near future.