Sunday, March 31, 2013

Smart classes: IIMs to share faculty online

In a first-of-its-kind attempt, the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are planning to introduce ‘smart classes’, which could be shared among all centres of the institute online. The move, aimed at beating the faculty crunch, is expected to involve global universities, too. The proposal for these classes is going to be top on agenda when the directors of the 13 IIMs meet Human Resource Development Minister M M Pallam Raju in New Delhi next week.

The IIMs have currently been working with 30 per cent fewer faculty members than requirement. The meeting, to be chaired by Raju, will also discuss the draft Bill to convert IIMs into institutions of national importance through an Act of Parliament. Ajit Balakrishnan, chairman of the board of governors, IIM-Calcutta, says smart classes will be an innovative move and it help students get the best on a particular subject.

According to the plan, videos of lectures by a faculty member could be shared online or through video-conferencing. Besides, courses on various management subjects could be prepared in a way that students could access those online. “This will help the IIMs and its students in a big way. If a particular faculty member is good with derivatives, that (his lectures) can be shared through the e-route among all IIMs,” Balakrishnan adds.

Though IIM-Bangalore currently provides a similar facility on its portal, it is at a much smaller scale. The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), too, have a similar project through the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL).

Balakrishnan confirms this endeavour will not be restricted within the country; plans are being evaluated to make it global.“We are looking at the possibility of taking it globally, where content can be shared with other leading international universities and management institutes,” he added.

In India, some existing open universities do provide their educational content online for students who cannot attend the classes, but the quality of these study materials has been suspect. Experts, however, believe the idea of smart classes, if implemented successfully, will be very fruitful for the premier IIMs.

Source: Business Standard, March 31, 2013

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