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Elearning Tools and Technologies for Broader IT education


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Title: Elearning Tools and Technologies for Broader IT education

E-learning Tools and Technologies for Broader IT
  • Mangala Sunder Krishnan
  • Department of Chemistry
  • IIT Madras
  • Chennai 600036

Web courses coordinator NPTEL Project, the
Ministry of HRD
  • Professor K. R. Srivathsan and his team in IIITM
  • My partners in the NPTEL project
  • My e-learning and computer-based-course design
    guru, Prof. Bryan C. Sanctuary, McGill
    University, Canada,
  • My project associates in the Web Studio, IIT
    Madras (well over fifty) from whom I learnt a lot

Elementary Lecture
  • What is learning at a distance?
  • Pedagogical differences between on-campus and
    off-campus learning
  • Technological challenges in online learning
  • Different methods / approaches for a successful

Use examples from
  • National Programme on Technology
  • Enhanced Learning
  • (NPTEL Project, Ministry of HRD)
  • Approaches from MITs Open Courseware
  • Sample Lessons from the Open Learning
  • Initiative of Carnegie Mellon University

Learning a topical subject at a distance
  • No philosophies (not there yet, perhaps) but
    practical problems.
  • Necessity to learn for professional/career
  • development
  • Effective learning in a reasonably short time to
    ensure competitiveness (on topics like
    e-security, it is a must)
  • Formal teaching methods may not have evolved

Learning a topical subject at a distance
  • Cannot be reduced to teaching, examination and
    assessment in a time bound, academic programme
  • Requires interaction of a faceless kind for most
    part of the process of teaching and learning
    (though it can be partly corrected by video

Instruction is not Information - Merrill ?
Recall Gagnes 9 steps of instruction. To that we
add suitable Learning Model Ex Problem Based
Slide, courtesy of Professor K. R. Srivathsan,
Director, IIITM Kerala
Pedagogical differences
  • Classrooms and physical campuses do not exist.
    Anytime, anywhere, any pace learning has to be
  • Topical subjects can only be offered on a broad
    basis and cannot be highly specializedcost is an
    important factor
  • Feedback and redesign of classes and coursework--
    not immediate based on the response of the
  • Requires a high degree of organization than
    classroom lecturing

The technology
  • Integrated teaching-interaction-learning-design-ed
    ucation through an Online University setup
  • Access, connectivity all times and periodic
  • Remember learning is not training or controlling
    the classroom environment.

Integrated Syllabus, Content Management and
Instructional Support Services Model
For each subject area, we need this
web-accessible environment
Slide by Prof. K. R. Srivathsan
? Well-managed system as above for each subject
will keep syllabus automatically up to date.
Description of a learning environment through a
project currently undertaken
  • National Programme on Technology Enhanced
    Learning to provide access to a little more than
    750 engineering courses online by 2010.
  • The users are teachers and students all over
    India first (others from outside are not
  • The programme follows a curriculum closely
  • Course contents to meet the needs of

Web Courses --Objectives
Summary of the programme for web supplements
  • Localization of examples
  • Elaboration of key concepts and theorems to
  • facilitate clearer understanding
  • Case studies to provide more comprehensive
  • design experience
  • Examples that require the use of different
  • categories of engineering knowledge under
  • different sets of assumptions.
  • Question banks to assist instructors to design
  • good test and examinations

  • Simple course management packages that
  • features like e-mail queries by students,
  • board and frequently asked questions (FAQ).
  • Many modules are being prepared preferably by
  • team of faculty.
  • The material will be suitably organized to
    create CDs
  • to meet the needs of students of different
  • The same material can be suitably
    restructured for
  • printing.

Video Courses --Objectives
The programme for video lectures
  • The course will consist of around 40 video
  • Each video lecture will be of one hour duration
  • to enhance the longevity of the video lectures.
  • Video lectures are confined to core concepts.
  • Its contents are distinct from text book and web
  • support material

Video Courses --Objectives
  • The video lectures utilize the facilities of
    the video
  • medium and are expected to contain
    interactions with
  • professionals from industry as appropriate.
  • The lectures will emphasize the relations of
    theory to
  • industrial practice as appropriate creation
    of video
  • lecture units is not tied with the scheduling
    of regular
  • courses in the Institution.

Deployment and follow-up Services
The following possibilities are being examined
regarding dissemination of web content
  • Host the e-content on a web site that students
    can log on to.
  • E-contents be made available in the form of
  • Colleges be encouraged to host these materials
    on one
  • of their servers and allow students to access.
  • E-content converted into print form and then
  • at a low cost.
  • Navigational flexibility of e-material, not
    possible in print
  • format.

Several workshops in IIT Madras, IIT Kharagpur,
IISc Bangalore and IIT Bombay. Review of
E-support material by various faculty outside of
the PIs in progress. Generation of E-Support
Material for the video All the courses to be
broadcast through Eklavya, or, are in the queue
for broadcast in the coming months
E-learning /supplementing engineering education
through NPTEL
  • The site which contains details of courseware for
    undergraduate engineering programmes is
  • http//nptel.iitm.ac.in

E-Learning Resources through Sakshat Portal
  • The site to visit is Sakshat portal maintained by
    the IGNOU for the Ministry of HRD

E-learning through the Open Learning Initiative
  • The site to visit is the open educational
    initiative by Carnegie Mellon University,
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
  • http//www.cmu.edu/oli
  • (Google search Open Learning Initiative, OLI)

Basic principles for e-learning (not e-training,
manpower quality control through e-, web processes
  • Education is a process through which concepts are
    identified by the teachers
  • Organized in a logical fashion from easy to
    difficult to profound concepts
  • Explained through examples specific to the
  • Development of the thought processes which
    evolved the concepts indicated

Basic principles for learning (not e-training,
manpower quality control through e-, web processes
  • Conceptual understanding tested through questions
    of different levels of difficulties and different
    types of responses multiple choices, fill in the
    blanks and matching are but a small part, not the
    most, of the examination processes.
  • Analytic abilities, comprehension of the subject,
    retention of important data and scientific
    INFORMATION by the learner are all part of the
    learning paradigm.
  • Most important it is quite personal-based on
    one-to-one contact between the teacher and the

Basic principles for e-learning (not e-training,
manpower quality control through e-, web processes
  • E-learning methodologies to capture the above
    without one of the most important elementsthat
    of a lively classroom in which discussion and
    dialogue are instantaneous.
  • E-education to students done through a network
    are still not quite effective because of the
    dilution of one or more of the interactions, or

Designing a platform which minimizes the losses
and not necessarily eliminate them altogether
(not possible to eliminate?)
  • Things which are not stated in the class but are
    understood by the students, interpreted from the
    spontaneous responses and personalization of
    delivery, must be recaptured?
  • How do we make a Feynman or a Jagdish Chandra
    Bose (who would excite the audience) out of the
  • How do we bring in the simultaneous laughter and
    joy of a good demonstration we understand when we
    see together?
  • Difficult questions and some may not even have
    any answer except in a contact classroom.
  • Hence the objective is to put the principles
    behind any subject in as lucid a form as possible
    and enable the process of learning to be unfolded
    as one goes through a course material online.

E-Learning Standards
  • Content
  • Pedagogy
  • Delivery
  • Feedback

The learning paradigm is different
  • Even in a course like e-security, a demonstration
    by a professional in a classroom of how the
    attack of a virus happened in the most secure
    system in the US will bring in a different
    experience from merely reading about it through a
    web course.

Content and pedagogy for e-learning (suggestions
  • Supplementary audio-video lessons are extremely
    important in the learning process of an
    individual in isolation, connected to others
    through wires and wireless mode.
  • Audio-tracks in which a teacher who is excited to
    teach the subject explains the concept as an
    adjunct to a web based text will add to the
    learning abilities.

Content and pedagogy for e-learning
  • Difficulty level of different learners must be
    assessed periodically. Classroom provides for
    this instantly when blank faces are more in
    number after describing a concept. A good teacher
    will immediately switch to a lower gear and will
    try to bring in a more elementary example, or
    engage the one who seemingly understood the idea
    to explain to others!
  • Participation by students is important.

Content and pedagogy for e-learning
  • Visual aids of several different kinds must be
    included in the design.
  • They may range from a representative diagram
    describing the best and the most secured network
    to one that was the least secure there was a
    time when someone found out the password for the
    administration of the hotmail network because it
    had very few characters!! Fortunately, he
    distributed it widely over the network to bring
    Microsoft on its knees for sometime.

Content and pedagogy for e-learning
  • They may involve animations at various levels of
    how to assemble such networks and how to detect a
    breach in cyber security of a given company etc.
  • They may involve possible scenarios of different
    levels of insecure network and asking learners to
    identify the most susceptible one, etc.

Interactivity and feedback in the learning cycle
(Content and pedagogy)
  • An example asking a student to list/identify
    things in the order of increasing priority
    procedural lapses in setting up a secure network
    environment can be quite useful.
  • Even better would be to let the student design a
    simple, correct sequence of setting up the
    network from a set of given components on the

Interactivity and feedback in the learning cycle
(Content and pedagogy)
  • Compare his/her design with the solution provided
    by the course designer
  • Analyze why and how the solution by the student
    was not adequate if there is deficiency of
  • These are cognitive elements in learning which
    must be built in the environment.

Assessment, feedback and redesign of e-learning
  • As important as are student feedbacks in the
    evolution of a good text book over several
    editions. (not reprinting)
  • Text books often take decades to become good and
    well referred to sources,
  • Good text books often motivate the learner to
    explore the subject further.

Assessment, feedback and redesign of e-learning
  • Assessment is not multiple choice questions.
  • Analysis of answers by students is not
    characterizing how many answered correctly and
    how many were wrong?
  • Analysis is to draw an inference as to WHY the
    students went wrong?

Assessment, feedback and redesign of e-learning
  • Analysis is to find those questions that a
    majority do not answer correctly and REDESIGNING
    them in line with what was expected as outcome of
    the course.
  • Redesign must necessarily result in better
    performance by the students.
  • Redesigning a course may require adding
    preliminary requirements, making simple concepts
    even more transparent and discovering alternative
    ways of explaining the concepts.

A course through e-learning is never made once
and once only
  • As the learner base increases as well as widens
    across regions, other topological issues become
  • Designing minimum requirements and learning
    methods becomes more challenging.
  • Supplementary information for under-prepared
    students and challenges in taking the subject
    forward to better prepared students needs to be
    added and also balanced across course limits.

E-learning is a whole new PARADIGM yet to be
understood fully
  • It is becoming increasingly important in a world
    which is turned FLAT (Michael Freedman?)
  • Important in the world in which the learner has
    access to more and more high quality learning
    environments in the open sources saga.
  • Important in the world in which learning outside
    of a traditional classroom can pay rich dividends
    if only the learner is focused about his needs
    and matches them with the professional career.

Recall how we got here.
  • India started with Gurukulam where learning was
    within closed doors and was the privilege of the
  • India also had the Worlds first distant
    learnerthe Ekalavya with a Guru refusing him to
    teach things.
  • If his example is to be quoted, e-learning could
    be better that conventional learning!!
  • We only have to find out how Ekalavya did or,
    better ( since we dont know), how he could have

Thank you very much
Technical standards for e-learning
  • There are three files attached here which give
    you the flair for standards which are evolving.
  • Content creation styles
  • Content standardization
  • Content delivery Standards
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