KERALA

Work on virtual campus progressing

KOCHI DEC. 7. The Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) will coordinate the activities of the Kerala Education Grid Project of the State Government in Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Malappuram and Idukki colleges.

The networking of the nodal centre at the Cusat is fast progressing. A high-level meeting comprising members of the apex project coordination unit of the education grid project held on the campus on Thursday reviewed the progress of the ongoing work.

The Education and Research Network (ERNET) India society has decided to include the networking of the education grid as part of the national ERNET network. The society would be investing in the backbone and access networks.

The Cusat was earlier included in the "UGC Network'' project established as a seamless, broadband, scalable, nation wide inter-university link. The state-of-the-art nation-wide computer network connecting different Universities was established to enhance existing academic structure.

The meeting decided to implement networking at the three nodal centres of the Kerala Education Grid. As a second phase of the project, a Kerala Virtual Campus (KVC) would be established.

K.R. Sreenivasan, director, Indian Institute of Information Technology Management, said that all the universities in the State will cooperate with the virtual campus programme introduced as part of the grid.

The study materials prepared by experts from universities, IIT (Madras) and IISC (Bangalore) will be transmitted to the colleges via satellite. An e-journal will be brought out to provide information about the courses.

The virtual campus will benefit those who are unable to pursue higher studies, apart from students. Online exams, immediate evaluation and announcement of results and interaction with teachers through video conferencing will be the other highlights of the programme.

Courses in engineering and technology will be offered in the first phase. The colleges will be equipped with the basic facilities to teach the online courses.

According to the draft plan, all universities, premier institutions and associated colleges of the State will be included into the connectivity of the Kerala Education Grid.

Steps would be taken to establish access solutions to the threefold comprehensive grid based network, information and e-learning and computing environment in all KVC institutions.

The governing council of the project has also decided to equip experienced and talented teachers for creating e-course content on the basis of the model being implemented in the education grid.

Educational institutions will be encouraged to offer online courses for anyone in Kerala in an open framework. These institutions will have web-portals with due automated backend management of such courses over the web.

The Central Education Grid will act as the unified KVC portal linking all programmes offered by different universities and colleges. The education grid will continue to build the capacity of teachers and the institutions in areas of content development and design of quality educational processes.

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