TAMIL NADU

For virtual universities with e-learning

Philip Butler

With computer enhanced learning or e-learning slowly creeping into the modern educational system, opportunities for those who wish to pursue courses in distance education mode will no longer remain a distant dream.

There are efforts underway to incorporate e-learning in regular full-time courses.

Bharathiar University will soon tie up with the University of London Computer Centre (ULCC).

Senior e-Learning Advisor of ULCC Philip Butler was here recently on a visit to Bharathiar University. He spoke to Amutha Kannan on e-learning.

"India is a knowledge bank. It has the right infrastructure and knowledge base to adapt the e-learning techniques that we follow in London. When we started e-learning, we did not have enough infrastructure so we took some time to adjust and adapt. But with India, the situation is ripe for it to adapt any kind of technology, technique and knowledge. It can move ahead very fast in e-learning" he said.

"Though nothing can replace traditional classroom teaching, e-learning helps complement the process. It makes learning more widely accessible. A few qualified teachers can be scaled up to teach innumerable students. Also quality study material is made available to students in the form of a CD or can be logged on at their convenience," he observed.

The advantage of e-learning can be summed up in four terms: anytime, anywhere, any content and any level.

How does e-learning make up for the face-to-face interaction a student has with his/her teacher and with peers?

"Discussion groups can be formed online. Faculty-to-student and student-to-student interaction should be encouraged and can be established online. It is not difficult," he said.

With collaborative software, good e-content, computer aided assessment and learning management systems, in future there will be no cases of missed classes, missed examinations and assessments, only virtual universities.

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