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EDUSAT - Indian Satellite in Education - A Brief from Mysore's Prof G. L. Shekar

Thanks to the EDUSAT project, a bold initiative of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) in Karnataka became the largest connected technical university in the country. Its 113 engineering colleges are connected under EDUSAT Distance Education/e-Learning network benefiting over 120,000 students. The outcome of the pilot transmission and the programmes has given confidence to ISRO to extend the EDUSAT facility to the entire country by the end of year 2004.

As for as Karnataka is concerned, the state government initiated a project called “Networking of Engineering Colleges” way back in the year 2002. Realizing the critical issue of dearth of teachers, more so in Computer Science and Electronics Engineering, Karnataka government came out with an idea of providing high quality distance education through satellite and web. In order to learn the organization and management of providing distance education on a larger scale and on a continuing basis, a pilot run was held from April 15, 2002 to May 21, 2002 by transmitting Interactive Education Programme (IEP) from a government studio in Mysore to 15 engineering colleges across Karnataka by using Direct Reception System (DRS), the brain-child of ISRO. The pilot run, conducted under the aegis of the Board for Information Technology Education Standards (BITES) and VTU with Karnataka State Remote Sensing Application Centre (KSRSAC), created a great deal of interest among the students and faculty members of the colleges. A detailed report was generated highlighting the issues related to overall planning, organization, execution and technology. The report also carried the wide range of suggestions, comments and criticisms that were received from the end users.

Further, VTU recommended to Karnataka government to extend IEP to all the engineering colleges so that this pioneering effort of Karnataka will work to proliferate distance education throughout India. Indeed, the EDUSAT project has now come as a boon to Karnataka, particularly to the higher education sector.

The present EDUSAT Project allows key elements of interactivity, access, cost-effectiveness and consistency of information to students. One subject expert can simultaneously teach hundreds of students in multiple locations across a vast geographical area. The students of the remote or ‘un-reached’ colleges can get the live lecture sessions of the best teacher. This initiative, therefore, addresses the major issue of paucity of faculty members in higher education.

With the full-fledged EDUSAT network and VTU’s web-based e-Learning facility, the engineering students in Karnataka are poised for getting a level ground of technical training and education.

This compendium is about the addition of this new facet of satellite-based education, particularly in the technical education sector, by the Governments. Based on our experience and the lessons learnt, attempts have been made to provide an overview of the EDUSAT project and to illustrate successful implementation of the project. The e-Learning framework of VTU, which hopefully sets new standards in dissemination of knowledge, has also been described. This document, which has three chapters with diagrams and pictures besides a complete set of annexure, is intended to the EDUSAT end users like schools, colleges and universities.

For more details, please contact the author of the EDUSAT - Indian Satellite in Education, an Educational Compendium on Distance Education - Prof. G. L. Shekar, Special Officer, e-Learning Centre, Visvesvaraya Technological University, SJCE-STEP SEED Bldg., SJCE Campus, Mysore - 570 006 Tele/Fax: +91-821-2413223, eLearning@vtu.ac.in

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