Matching OER Ideals and Practices in India: a survey
Bharathi Harishankar, University of Madras, India
Conference Theme: Innovation
Abstract: Open Educational Resource (OER) is a nascent phenomenon in India enabled by the growth of ICTs and Open Source technologies. It is interesting to note that OER practice has preceded theoretical formulations in India. Over the last decade, several meaningful initiatives have utilised ICT to augment the quality of education. These intiatives, which we now label as OERs, span across different levels of education (primary, secondary, tertiary) and different types of providers (government/public, private). They include:
Consortium for Educational Communication (CEC) which is an inter-university centre of the University Grants Commission (UGC), a national apex body for higher education (www.cec-lor.edu.in), which produces TV programmes on syllabus based topics. These are archived in a learning object repository. National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT), uploads its textbooks online for free access by teachers and learners through its website – www.ncert.nic.in/textbooks. NSDL – the National Science Digital Library, an initiative of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and provides supplementary curriculum based content for free access. Ekalavya is an open educational initiative by the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay for content development in Indian languages. It includes OSCAR (Open Source Educational Resources Animation Repository) which provides web based interactive animations as teaching resources. E-Gyankosh (www.egyankosh.ac.in) is an initiative of IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University) which provides access to over 30,000 modules of courseware in the self instructional format and 1600 videos. The National Programme of Technology Enabled Learning (NPTEL), a joint effort of the Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institute of Science, provides digitised and web-based lectures on engineering courses to faculty and students in private engineering colleges. The Virtual Academy for the Semi-Arid Tropics (VASAT) provides non-formal “natural resource literacy” to rural communities using simple technology tools. Indira Gandhi National Open University's (IGNOU) FlexiLearn expands the scope of Open and Distance Learning by providing “free learning resources integrated with a LMS” to enhance personal learning free of cost. The National Mission on Education through ICTs (NME-ICT), and its web portal – Sakshat – that provides one stop access to e-content, e-journals and e-books. This study seeks to map the innovation in terms of technology and pedagogy and impact of some of the initiatives listed above. In doing so, the study will delineate the parameters that will define the growth trajectory of OERs in India. For instance, these initiatives cannot be evaluated for the presence of the Four Rs that inform the OER concept but can be usefully defined by the potential extent of reach and extent of use.