TAMIL NADU

Web-based courses soon under TEL project

CHENNAI July 26. A Virtual Centre for Technology Enhanced Learning (VCTEL), established by the Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institutes of Management, will soon come up with web-based courses to enhance the reach and quality of technical education.

According to the Director of the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M), M.S. Ananth, the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) project, involving all IITs and IIMs and coordinated by the IIT-M, is expected to be funded by the Human Resource Development Ministry in the near future. The VCTEL, established through a Memorandum of Understanding involving the IITs, the IIMs and a U.S university, will jointly put 300 courses on the web in the next three years. The courses would be available at highly subsidised rates to all engineering and management institutes, he said addressing the 39th convocation of the IIT-M today.

Explaining the Institute's contribution to national S and T educational system, Dr. Ananth said IIT-M had initiated new programmes in the areas of sustainable development and micro-electro mechanical systems. Programmes in new materials, high-speed networking, wireless technology, energy and environment, smart materials and double-degree programmes (Engineering and Management) were proposed.

A thrust had been given to development of web-based course material. Nearly 100 courses were in different stages of development. WebCT, a course deployment platform was being used for course design and management, he said before giving away 361 B.Tech, 79 M.Sc, 371 M.Tech, 80 M.S and 48 Ph.D degrees to students. Delivering the convocation address, K. Anji Reddy, chairman, Dr.Reddy's Group of Companies, said since the globalisation process began in 1991, Indian pharma industry had been overwhelmed by the challenge of the patent regime.

Many in the industry doubted the ability of Indian companies to undertake drug discovery research in the product patent regime.

In the West, the discovery and development from a bench idea to a marketable product cost $ 500 to 800 million.

But drug discovery research was possible at Rs.10 crores a year. It was within the reach of at least a dozen pharma companies in India.

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