Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, which works on acres and hectares, has ploughed bits and bytes on cyber land to plant its course contents.

In the first phase of ‘Development of E-courses for B.Sc. Agriculture' project, the University had made available online all the modules of subjects in the graduate course.

“They can be accessed anywhere, even cyber cafe,” says R. Venkatachalam, Co-ordinator, Information Technology, TNAU.

Indian Council for Agriculture Research granted Rs. 13.5 crore for the project under Component I of the National Agriculture Innovation Project.

The portal – http://mms.tnau.ac.in – has audio-visual content, module-wise and it goes with slide shows and text of the lesson taught.

“The videos were shot during class hours at classrooms to make it as real as possible,” he says and adds 1,300 hours of videos have been uploaded.

Efforts are on to replicate the work for Horticulture, Forestry, Home Science, Biotechnology and other courses.

The planting has bore more than the anticipated number of fruits. “One of the benefits of posting the course contents online is that students who are from Tamil medium schools use it to improve English and communication skills,” says K. Ilamurugu, Professor, who is associated with the project.

“The other is that quality of teaching has improved in that faculty, conscious of recording, have made classes lively with interactions and demonstrations.”

The response from other agriculture institutions has been good. Mr. Venkatachalam says faculty and students of institutions in Bangalore, Anand, Aurangabad, Bagalkot and other areas access the content on a periodical basis.

After the project is reviewed, it will be scaled-up to include content from other institutions as well, he adds.

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