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IIT-B plans 'live lectures' in virtual classrooms
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December 10, 2007

Students across the country will soon have access to quality education imparted at the prestigious IIT-B here as the institute plans to start within a month's time a virtual classroom using the Edusat facility of ISRO.

"We have set up a studio inside the campus which is just like any other classroom. It has all the facilities for uplinking the lecture to the devoted satellite - Edusat, which can transmit it to others. Colleges can have live lectures," head of IIT-B's distance engineering education progarmme Kannan Moudgalya told reporters.

Any engineering college which awards degrees to students can fit a receiver in their premises so that the students can "sit" for the lecture.

Over a hundred colleges in the country have presently installed the receivers that cost approximately Rs 3.20 lakh per piece and over 1,000 are expected to take advantage of the facility.

A total of thirteen of Indian Institute of Technology's 500-odd courses will be relayed as part of the scheme, starting January two next year, he said.

"The professor will conduct a normal lecture like he normally does and the students will also be made to sit in the studio itself," Moudgalya said, adding the scheme is also interactive and students sitting anywhere can ask questions to the faculty.

"No special degrees will be given to the students who sit for the virtual lectures. This is just a value addition for them and we will not charge the institutes as well. Any college can start it by installing the receiver," he added.

Among the courses that will be broadcast initially are much sought after ones like software engineering, information systems, computation fluid dynamics, embedded systems, instrumentation and process control and fibre optics communications.

The signals which will be transmitted will be available in neighbouring countries of India, like Pakistan and Bangladesh where the satellite has a footprint and the institutions there can tune in to them using the same frequency.

"Edusat is a special programme of the Government of India exclusively for the needs of the institute in the country and we do not have any plans to give the service to others, nor have we received any expressions of interest from institutes in the country," Moudgalya said.

Currently, the modalities of the course like the timings are being finalised and will be conveyed to the institutes in a week's time for launch of the project, he added.

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