A-VIEW (Amrita Virtual Interactive E-Learning World)

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Registration Name : eINDIA2011/AN/137
Project Category : digitalLEARNING::Best Open and Distance Learning Practices in Higher Education
Project Name : A-VIEW (Amrita Virtual Interactive E-Learning World)

Details of Applicant
Name : Kamal Bijlani
Address : Amrita E-Learning Research Lab, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri Campus, Clappana P O,
City : Kollam
State : Kerala
Country : INDIA
Zip Code : 690525

Details of Project/Implementing Agency
Name of Organisation : Amrita E-Learning Research Lab
Address : Amrita E-Learning Research Lab,,Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham,,Amritapuri Campus, Clappana P O,
City : Kollam
State : Kerala
Country : INDIA
Zip Code : 690525
Name of the head of Organisation : Prof. Kamal Bijlani
Website : www.aview.in


Brief description of the programme/project/Initiative :
Amrita Virtual Interactive E-Learning World (A-VIEW), is an ambitious project undertaken by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India, for providing and promoting quality education. The MHRD is distributing A-VIEW, an E-Learning tool, developed by Amrita E-Learning Research Lab, to all universities and colleges in India free of cost, under National Mission on Education (NME) through Information and Communication Technology (ICT). To assure complete solution, A-VIEW software is bundled together with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) on National Knowledge Network. We deploy A-VIEW to other colleges which are interested in using the software in their own internal servers. A-VIEW offers effective, efficient, economical and easy way of open and distance learning thereby bridging the gaps between haves and have-nots. A-VIEW Classroom A-VIEW Classroom, a one-stop E-Learning platform, recreates the ambience of traditional classroom. Using A-VIEW Classroom, classes can be conducted virtually yet quickly, easily and effectively. A-VIEW is designed and developed from a teacher’s and a student’s perspective. So, here, features are fashioned according to the aesthetic sense of teachers and students. Thus it is simple and state-of-the-art software which can also be used by non-tech-savvy users. Acknowledging their requirements and realizing the necessity of a user-friendly E-Learning tool, we have incorporated following features. a. Like in a traditional classroom, for teachers to watch students and vice versa, we did incorporate ‘Audio and Video’ feature. b. To make a presentation, we did integrate ‘Live document sharing’ facility. c. For free hand adhoc, we en suite ‘Whiteboard’ functionality. d. To ease teacher-student interaction chat functionality is also enabled. All classes are recorded and indexed. It helps to watch the earlier classes for future reference. Now, A-VIEW can be operated even via a mobile also. It is compatible in Android phones.

Why was the project started :
In India, we are lacking experienced, skilled faculties in almost every domain to impart quality education to students spread across the country. Thus the project was started to help the entire student community of India to get best education possible free of cost without the barriers of distance leveraging the ever growing reliable internet connection availability. The project was started as a part of a collaborative project between India government, IIT Bombay and Amrita University called ‘Talk to a Teacher’. Amrita University’s E-Learning Research Lab developed a state-of-the-art E-Learning software, A-VIEW, for distance education. Amrita is successful in proving that the software would benefit the large student community across the country by leveraging skilled teachers who are primarily present in urban regions as opposed to students who are spread across the vastly differing geography of our country. Currently Amrita is working very closely with MHRD and BSNL to connect all other remaining institutes in India.

Objective :
To develop a state-of-the art e-learning tool for MHRD to leverage the India’s best faculties for the benefit of the students at all educational institutes, free of cost, across India by providing a near class room experience with support from BSNL over the existing NKN network connectivity.
Target group :Educational institutions in India (572 Universities and over 20,000 colleges in India)
Geographical reach : Pan India
Date from which the project became operational : 1 June 2005
Is the Project still operational : YES

10 points that make the programme/project innovative?

  1. A-VIEW Class Room: Open Source E-Learning Tool to connect all universities and colleges of the country free of cost.
  2. Adaptive bandwidth usage to ensure optimum quality of service even in rural areas.
  3. Multimodal Student-Teacher Interaction: Live two-way audio/video transmission, Crystal Clear Live Document Sharing, Multi Device Compatible White Board and Desktop Sharing
  4. Support single display/multiple display to suit the needs of a single student at a node/large number of students at geographically varied nodes
  5. Focuses on the course being offered by premier institutes with support from MHRD for the benefit of other educational institutes
  6. Students can continue learning at their own pace with Recording and Playback Facility and programs like ‘Ask a Question’.
  7. Face Recognition, Emotion Tracking, 2D and 3D interaction will become as part of the A-VIEW soon
  8. No proprietary/costly hardware is needed. It could be functional with just a standard computer, webcam and a headset.
  9. In absence of infrastructure in rural areas, students can actually get connected via mobile phones to listen to the audio of the lecture. Also quizzes can be answered by students through mobile phones via sms
  10. As MHRD has announced Sakshat Tablet-‘Aakash’, a low cost handheld device to be made available to each and every student across the country, each of them could be connected through A-VIEW for a better collaborative learning.

List the 5 achievements of the programme/project?

  1.  A-VIEW was awarded the Jury Award for Best innovation in Open and Distance Learning at World Education Summit-2011.
  2.  A-VIEW server technology was used for live broadcast of the launch of Sakshat Tablet by Sri. Kapil Sibal, HRD Minister on 5th October, 2011.
  3. A-VIEW will be the tool used for delivering Amrita’s new initiative – Free Online Tuition, “OnlineGurukul”, to all students in India in any subject totally free of cost. The “OnlineGurukul” was launched by Sri. Vilas Rao Deshmukh, Minister of Science and Technology, on the birthday function of Her Holiness Sri Mata Amritanandamayi on 27th September 2011.
  4. Used by IIT Bombay to conduct teacher empowerment programs to 3850 teachers at geographically separate nodes. Many of such programs are planned to happen in the near future. Also, every week, professors from different areas assemble to clear doubts of students from different parts of India, by interacting through A-VIEW Classroom through Ask a Question Program.
  5.  A-VIEW classroom is also being used to impart vocational training and skill development workshop to reach out to the masses. MHRD and BSNL is coordinating and working closely with Amrita to get A-VIEW installed in all universities, providing connectivity to all universities/colleges

 

List the 5 key challenges faced while implementing the programme/project/initiative

  1. Indian Mindset • Stigma towards distance learning was a major fear to be addressed. This was overcome to an extent through various pilot programs (IIT Bombay), workshops, road shows, awareness programs and fliers & circulars.
  2. Challenges faced in Development: • It was a new challenging, vibrant field where technology was changing rapidly that we ventured into. Recruiting Research Oriented people who were ready to work in challenging situations helped us to overcome the hurdle.
  3. Lower available bandwidth at rural areas • By developing a software which adapts itself with the available bandwidth helped us overcome the bandwidth problem which India faces in many rural areas. Thus students at rural areas can get connected via A-VIEW using data cards.
  4. Challenges faced in Deployment at various institutes • For deployment at very important nodes like IIT Bombay, Punjab Technical University (PTU), IIT Kharagpur, IIT Madras, etc, who needed to have their own private network and servers other than NKN, we had sent technical experts on site to deliver the best service.
  5. Challenges faced in Scalability Testing of the system • For scalability testing, working very closely with all the clients was important as we needed all of them online at the same time. We were able to overcome the challenge by being flexible as per the convenience of the clients.

List the 5 points how can the programme serve as a model that can be replicated or adapted by others?

  1. Free of cost Software service and easy to deploy with zero proprietary hardware requirement
  2. It is a user-friendly software with utility. It bridges the teacher to student ratio as well as fills in the geographic divide of our country. It is acting as an instrument in facilitating education for our entire nation, particularly the rural areas. A-VIEW facilitates a Multimodal student teacher interaction along with the facility for students to do a self paced learning
  3. It has architecture for collaborative environment, effective for a virtual collaborative e-learning environment. It is also equipped with adaptive bandwidth technology to face the challenges in live video conferencing
  4. Localization: A-VIEW adapted for regional language such as Hindi and Malayalam. And we are working to support all other Indian Languages too.
  5. It can not only be used for higher education but also for schools, vocational and skill development trainings

List 5 points to elaborate on the scalability of the programme/project/initiative

  1. With adaptive bandwidth technology of A-VIEW, physical distance and bandwidth are no constrains for transmission of classes even to the users at rural areas using data cards. Thus this adds to the enhanced scalability of the project.
  2. To ensure complete solution, BSNL and A-VIEW is bundled together to reach to the masses on NKN network. With the launch of Aakash Tablet from MHRD, A-VIEW would help any student access the best possible faculty in the country.
  3. Compatibility of A-VIEW over mobile phones helps to reach out to any mobile users.
  4. Support single display/multiple display to suit the needs of a single student at a node/large number of students at geographically varied nodes.
  5. Being versatile, the same software is being used for vocational teachings and can also be used by schools and for eGovernance.

Documents publishing URL :

  1. http://www.scribd.com/amrita_aview,
  2. http://aview.in/,
  3. http://onlinegurukul.in,
  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8IfIzKiXEU
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