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Virtual teaching new mantra to revolutionise classroom study

Category: Higher Education,  News Source: TNN,  Updated-On: Feb 25 2012

BHOPAL: A cyber curriculum might sound a little farfetched idea for now but a virtual teaching session linking Bhopal's Gandhi Medical College (GMC) with All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has heralded an innovation that is all set to change classroom education in the country.

Under-graduate medical students of the GMC interacted with professors in Delhi in the first virtual teaching (VT) classroom session here on Wednesday. The pilot project under the aegis of national knowledge commission (NKC) aims at raising the average medical education standards and increasing interactivity between medical colleges. The project by NKC would link the command control at AIIMS Delhi with PGI-Chandigarh, NEIGRIHMS-Shillong, JIPMER-Pondicherry, GMC-Bhopal, Lady Hardinge Medical College-Delhi and University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi.

Speaking to TOI from AIIMS, the project's chief coordinator, Dr Manoj Singh, said, "In the long-run, we expect to link up all the medical colleges in the country through the VT classrooms. It is a supplementation of sorts and not the substitution of teaching."

"VT classrooms are an add-on for the students. The vast pool of teachers sharing knowledge would widen the horizon of students," said GMC professor and HOD, forensic medicine, Dr BP Dubey.

National Informatics Centre (NIC) is providing the technical support for the webcast with a dedicated fibre optic line - a super cool 1 Gbps connection (1 gigabit network can download 23 episodes of your favourite soap-opera in less than two minutes!).

"Today it was a link between Delhi and Bhopal, but we have the capacity for multi-casting to various locations in a single session. A single teacher would be able to reach out to numerous students across the country and interact with them at the same time," said Dr Singh.

However, the MBBS students were a little unconvinced. "Virtual teaching is a good thing but we would still prefer a real one," said first year student Garima Poreha.

According to the NKC, all the teaching hospitals and medical colleges are located in urban areas where only 30-35% of the population lives.

"Ensuring uniformity in education is one of the main goals," added Dr Singh, who has been persistently pursuing virtual classrooms, as most colleges are faced with shortage of teachers.

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