A hundred engineering colleges from across the country will in January switch to a new time-table with half of the lessons delivered virtually by IIT professors. The move comes as part of an ambitious plan to take top notch course content and high quality faculty-student interaction to India’s many engineering colleges. Phase I of the Quality Enhancement in Engineering Education (QEEE) programme kick starts on January 2, 2014 as the chosen 100 odd engineering colleges begin a new semester.
As many as nine subjects, including Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering and Mathematics among others, will be co-taught by senior IIT professors along with the regular college faculty.
Sample the draft new timetable that has been drawn up for this new age classroom. A Monday morning lesson across the 100 colleges will start at 8 am with a lesson on ‘Wireless Connection’ by IIT Kanpur’s Prof A Jagannathan. IIT Bombay’s Prof Neela Natraj would teach ‘Linear Algebra’ in the next hour, followed by Prof C Balaji of IIT Madras who would hold forth on ‘Heat Transfer’ for Mechanical Engineering. From 11 am to noon, Prof B S Murthy would lecture on ‘Engineering Fluid Dynamics’ while IIT Delhi’s Prof Saurabh Bansal would deliver the last virtual lecture of the day on ‘Operating Systems’. Similar daily lesson schedules with lectures beaming out from various IITs have been shared with the colleges.
From the Dr K N Modi University in the Tonk district of Rajasthan to the Don Bosco College of Engineering and Technology (DBCET) at Azara in Assam and the Sagar Institute of Research and Technology in Madhya Pradesh, a range of colleges are waiting to see how this experiment at bridging the quantity-quality divide pans out.
The QEEE’s ‘Direct to Student’ programme will be backed by supplemental evening e-tutorials by senior students and industry experts in a study circle setting. Ninety minutes of such e-tutorials per week are expected to take off initially. E-labs involving real time online access to experiments conducted at top five labs will also be a part of the larger plan, as will a range of e-books and vocational augmentation courses.
“Engineering apart, we hope to launch similar virtual modules across several other disciplines. The virtual lectures will be recorded and later put on a QEEE portal that is being developed and later we hope to also broadcast them”, a senior official in the HRD ministry said.
This novel pedagogical project also demands investment in technology. The chosen 100 colleges are busy putting in place the stipulated infrastructure-servers in well-equipped and adequately cooled rooms, 4mbps Internet connectivity, stable LAN between institute server and classroom desktops and student PCs, classrooms with two projectors, screens, audio video systems, cameras with tripods and DTH set top boxes among other requirements.