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IGNOU trains teachers to develop online courses

16 August, 2011

IGNOU’s Inter University Consortium (IUC) organised a workshop to train trainers from various universities in order to address the change which has struck the 21st century teachers and learners.

The change is the online learning/ teaching experience which has made easily accessible learning/ teaching material just a click away. Many open universities in the world and other traditional universities are developing online courses to enhance the reach of their university’s study materials through videos, web content, internet, satellite or CDROM. Private institutions are also offering online courses. Online education is becoming popular day-by-day, but adapting face-to-face courses for online instruction presents many challenges and IGNOU took the initiatives to address them.

Keeping this new technological development in view, the University feels that the teachers should be prepared to meet the challenges of the future. For this the IUC organised three day training workshop “on how to create /develop online courses”. The training objectives of this three day workshop were to explain and describe the Instructional Design for Online Courses, highlight some of the tools used to create online courses, show some examples of Online Courses offered by IGNOU, understand the Learning Management System, how to publish the course, create an online course using Moodle.

“While designing and developing any online course there are three major areas we should focus on: Instructional Design, Course Management and Instructional Media. The Design should be carefully done and then only development and implementation should come in. There should be judicious use of Multimedia, activities and interactivity among learners so that learning communities can be development for effective online learning,” said Prof. Madhu Parhar, Director, IUC, IGNOU.

The training programme was attended by twenty one faculty members from State Open Universities, Private Universities offering courses through Distance Mode and Faculty of Distance Education Institutes in Formal Universities like Jamia Hamdard (New Delhi), NIMS University (Jaipur), Anna University (Chennai), Karpagam University (Coimbatore), Dr. C.V. Raman University (Chhattisgarh), Institute of Advanced Studies in Education University (Rajasthan), Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth (Maharashtra), Lovely School of Open and Distance Learning (Jalandhar), Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open University (Guwahati), Dayalbagh Educational Institute (Agra), Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan (New Delhi) and UP Rajarshi Tandon Open University (UP).

This training workshop was imparted for awareness and Capacity Building programme to the faculty of universities (Open, Private –offering courses through distance mode) in developing Online Courses. Accordingly, the programme used structured presentations on the new concepts. After the brief presentations, the faculty worked individually on the terminal and explored the usefulness of the new technology for their institution. Training was mainly based on experiential learning methodologies.

“It was a very nice learning experience. Being a technical person I knew that we have to design any system from the base, but I didn’t know that so many people have studies and created different theories. I am very thankful to IGNOU team for explaining all those things,” said Mr. Amit Agashe, a participant from Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth, Pune. Dr. Ratna Mohan Jha from Rastriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi, another participant discussed about how to develop Sanskrit courses in online mode.

The three days workshop comprised of four sessions per day and started with an overview of online courses in IGNOU by Prof. Uma Kanjilal, Director, School of Social Sciences at the university. She elaborated upon ICT Initiatives at eGyanKosh which is a national repository, initiated with a mandate to store, index, preserve, distribute and share the digital learning resources. eGyanKosh has open access and has emerged as one of the world’s largest educational resource repositories. Multimedia repository of over ninety-five percent of the self-instructional print material of the University have already been digitised and uploaded; 1600 video programmes are available on YouTube with the metadata link in the repository; Webcasting of Broadcast channels; Wiki for collaborative content generation; E-Learning Platform -Virtual Class; Webcasting facility for GyanDarshan I & II and GyanVani – Education Broadcast; FlexiLearn and Sakshat: A One Stop Education Portal of Ministry of Human Resource Development. She explained in detail about the IGNOU’s move towards Flexible Learning Environment.

Prof. Santosh Handa covered sessions on online courses and instructional design. A presentation started with the journey of the distance education covering its different generations, i.e., correspondence courses to intelligent flexible learning. The interactive multimedia is making steady penetration in the distance and open education courses and its advantages were discussed in detail. The online learning is catching up fast among the distance education institutions as it provides for collaborative engagement; student-student and student-tutor interaction; interactivity; more student activity; both synchronous and asynchronous interaction; instant feedback and intelligent flexible feedback. Online learning, interaction, mentoring, collaboration, knowledge construction and negotiation, assignments, evaluation and feedback, certification were various factors which were also discussed in detail during the session.

The second day started with IGNOU Pro-VC Dr K.R. Srivathsan explaining about the three modes of education which are ODL mode, online mode and regular mode. He elaborated about the Vedyadhara Open Learning Environment (VOLE) which supports the integral functioning of divisions- the regional services division, Student Registration Division, Student Evaluation Division, centres and programme coordination by the schools and centres. Ms. G.Mythili and Mr. Trivendra Singh explained the structural design and operational aspects of existing online courses running at IGNOU.

They explained all the technical aspects of Moodle and its installation. Moodle is an e-learning tool that can offer simple and safe solutions to any institution, no matter how large or small, be it an individual teacher or a huge university. Moodle facilitates online collaborations which can be teacher-to-student, teacher-to-teacher or student-to-student. The workshop provided hands on training to the participants on creating a user, creating and define assigning roles, creating a course category and a course, adding course content, adding a quiz, adding an event, creating online assignments and creating online forums. They also provided live demo and conducted hands-on practice in web-meetings and web conference through Adobe connect.

The concluding day focused on the principles of online learning by Prof. Madhu Parhar. She introduced the concept of Androgogy and Gerogogy. These concepts were new to most of the participants. She explained the various theories of learning in simple way using plenty of examples. Some of them were: Gagne’s levels of learning; Bandura’s Social learning; Bruner constructivist approach; Blooms taxonomy, Vygotsky’s Theory of Social Cognitive Development which focuses on the fact that Social Interaction plays a fundamental role in the development of Cognition.

The concluding session chaired by Prof. P. R. Ramanujam, Pro-Vice Chancellor, IGNOU and hosted by Prof. Madhu Parhar, Director In-charge, IUC, IGNOU, began with introduction of all the participants, with their experience on the training programme followed by certification ceremony. A feedback was taken from the participants of which majority were very satisfied with the programme. Pro-Vice Chancellor, Prof. P. R. Ramanujam, in his speech discussed about the importance of technology in education and the penetration of technology enabled education.