At SOL, instructions are given primarily through printed course material which is distributed among students. And this is supplemented through personal contact programme at various study centres run by the school.
Following UGC's direction, SOL is planning to minimise the practice of traditional blackboard learning and adopt the 'flipped classroom technology' which will also enable the students to attend lectures according to their convenience.
"The online admission process this year has garnered good response from students with more than 50 per cent of the over one lakh applicants choosing to register online.
"We have already started issuing examination admit cards online. However, our teaching methodologies have been the same blackboard learning for decades," SOL Director C S Dubey said.
"Moreover, the students enrolled with SOL are not able to devote as much time as a regular university student would. They are either working or have other limitations. Hence, the technology will reduce the need for the students to visit their study centres," he added.
The 'flipped classroom' model encompasses use of Internet technology to leverage the learning in classroom, so that the students have access to more interactive classes rather than mundane lectures. It is called the 'flipped class' because the whole classroom/homework paradigm is 'flipped'.
What used to be class work (the 'lecture') is done at home via teacher-created videos and what used to be homework (assigned problems) is now done in class.
"The UGC (University Grants Commission) has also directed SOL to develop its distance education board... Two committees have been constituted to evaluate and suggest measures to upgrade content as well as teaching methodologies," Dubey said.
SOL plans to make available the study material for all its courses in an audio-video format by end of this year. The 'flipped classroom technology' is expected to be adopted by the same time.
"Since, all the students enrolled in SOL aren't tech savvy and some might not have access to Internet, in the initial years we will give the students an option to choose between hard copy or soft copy of the study material.
"Simultaneously, we plan to run computer coaching classes for those who aren't user friendly with technology, so the concept of hard copies can completely be removed within a few years," Dubey added.
Since the examinations and the evaluation process at SOL also encourage the rot learning concept, there are plans to introduce the concept of 'continuous assessment' too.
"Traditionally, students read the study material for an year and write exams. Today, we cant make our students employable with this methodology. Hence, we will introduce continuous assessment model with 30 per cent weightage. This will be based on e-learning too," Dubey said.
The decision to deliver the study module in an electronic form has drawn flak from the School of Open Learning Teachers' Association (SOLTA) and Delhi University Teachers' Association (DUTA).
The issue was raised at the Governing Body meeting of SOL yesterday where the teachers claimed that the idea of giving study material in DVDs rather than printed text books is not practically in favour of SOL students.
Dubey, however, claimed that an SMS survey with over 84,000 respondents has revealed that students wish to study from electronic study material.
"We conducted an SMS survey and 80,000 out of the 84,000 respondents said that they want to study via the e-learning system and not the traditional one," Dubey said.
SOL, formerly known as School of Correspondence Courses and Continuing Education, is the distance education wing of Delhi University and enrolls over one lakh students every year. It offers undergraduate/postgraduate degree courses in Arts/Humanities and Commerce streams.