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12th August, 2009
Former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, on Wednesday, launched at Sona College of Technology, Salem, the A – View, (Amrita Virtual Interactive eLearning World) a state-of-the-art virtual e-learning system developed by the Amrita University, Coimbatore in association with ISRO and TIFA (Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council).
Sona College of Technology is the fifth technical institution in the country to have A–View facility and the launch commemorates the twelfth anniversary and the golden jubilee of its parent institution Thyagarajar Polytechnic. IIT Bombay installed the facility on August 11 while IIT Delhi, IIIT Alahabad and VNIT Nagpur are some of the premium institutes that have already installed A-View. Institutions are selected to adopt the facility on the basis of merit.
Students get to listen to lectures of specialists in a field from any place, any time in any subject. Recipient institutions can have course ware delivered on their campuses in subjects in which they lack resources. In short, the system addresses the pressing issue of higher education in India today, namely, the shortage of highly qualified teachers.
Inaugurating the facility Dr Kalam went online with Dr Venkatarangan, the Vice-Chancellor of Amrita University, at the other end in Coimbatore explaining how a particular concept can be virtually delivered. Dr Venkatarangan told Dr Kalam that A–View was a seamless interactive experience between the teacher–student end.
According to Kamal Bijlani, Project Director, Amrita University and the main architect of the tool, A–View intends to provide a real-life experience and interactivity to virtual learning and also transcends the limitations of actual classrooms. The hardware paraphernalia include a computer with an 8 mbps bandwidth connectivity with Amrita University, Kollam.
The software package and the course ware are designed by Amrita University in collaboration with Indian and foreign universities in accordance with the needs of the recipient institutions. Sona College has requisitioned for courses in Nano technology, Bio-technology etc, he said.
The system has four 42-inch high resolution displays providing simultaneous high quality delivery of video, presentation slides, interactive whiteboard and access to latest references, all at the click of a mouse. The system comes live with the classroom like interactions and question-answer sessions emerging in a natural way between the students and the teacher. While the teacher interaction is displayed on one screen, another screen is used for making presentations, while the third screen serves a virtual scribbling and note writing pad and the fourth displays recipient (the students).