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Sunday, 5 July 2015

Digital India week: IIT Bombay students showcase ten relevant projects

By Karrishma Modhy /  03 Jul 2015 , 09:22
The Government of India launched Digital India week from 1 July. As as part of this, IIT Bombay showcased relevant projects today in an event held on their campus. The projects that were showcased included Spoken Tutorial, FOSSEE, e-Yantra, e-kalpa Virtual Labs and many more. Most of these projects are funded by National Mission on Education through ICT under the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India.More than 100 partners are celebrating Digital India Week along with IIT Bombay. We had a chance to visit IIT Bombay and get to know more about these projects.
1. Virtual Labs 
Virtual Labs has been designed to provide remote access to labs in various disciplines of science and engineering. It enables a user to perform experiments remotely as an on-demand service on the web. Virtual Labs can also be known to ‘complement’ a physical lab. Basically, this project aims to provide a complete learning management system, which includes web sources, video lectures along with animated demonstrations.
College students, school teachers and also instructors can take advantage of this system and it does not even require any additional infrastructure. Various topics are included in Virtual Labs such as physical sciences, biomedical engineering & biotechnology, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, electronics and communication engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical sciences and computer science.
2. T10KT
The ‘Train 10,000 Teacher’s’ Project workshop conducts classes on engineering subjects, along with faculty of engineering and science, through distance-learning method. The AVIEW platform which has been developed by Amrita University is used for live transmission and audio-video interaction. The course is delivered by the faculty at IIT and a rigorous approach is followed  with emphasis on problem solving, tutorial problems, assignments and laboratory exercises.
As of now, the project has reached out to about 85,000 teachers since 2009, through 342 remote centres across India. These recorded lecture contents are free to download. Some of the projects which have been included are computer programming, engineering thermodynamics, solar photovoltaics, analog electronics, research methodologies, databse management systems, fluid mechanics and cyber security.
3. Talk to a Teacher
Talk to A teacher is a project which allows learners to interact with a panel of faculty members from IIT Bombay live, as well as offline through an online forum. Currently, live sessions will happen every Thursday from 4pm to 5pm in the Electrical Engineering department. The ‘Ask A Question’ forum encourages learners to ask questions in various disciplines of engineering and science.
The program has answered over 450 live questions till date along with participation by more than 25 faculty members from IIT Bombay. ‘Courses on View’ is another part of the Talk to A Teacher initiative where courses which take place in the classroom are recorded and are made available through video-on-demand. ‘Researchoscope’ is an online discussion forum for researchers, wherein doctoral students at IIT Bombay present their research work. This interactive forum is used for any clarifications or for continuing a discussion about the presentation.
Professor Deepak Phatak says “The ‘Train 10,000 Teachers’ (T10KT) Project conducts ISTE workshops in core subjects, for faculty of engineering and science. These are conducted in distance mode through live transmission and audio-video interaction, using the A-VIEW platform. Expert faculty from IITs deliver the course. A rigorous approach is used, with emphasis on problem solving, tutorials, assignments, and laboratory exercises. These workshops are also conducted in blended MOOC format, with synchronous and asynchronous activity spread over six weeks, to make the learning more effective.”
4. e-Yantra
e-Yantra is a project sponsored by Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) through the National Mission on Education through ICT. This initiative aims to spread education in Embedded systems and Robotics. It uses a homegrown robot to train students in project-based learning. The e-Yantra Lab Setup lets colleges teach Robotics and Embedded systems in an effective way by training four teachers from colleges in a region and engaging the teams through the reginal e-Yantra Robotics Teacher Competition, where teachers implement a Robotics project over a period of three months.
Robotics Labs are established in over 107 colleges in India as of January this year. In eYS 2014, 16 Mumbai University colleges along with 35 colleges from different regions of the country participated and 21 student projects in the field of embedded systems and robotics were exhibited.
Professsor Kavi Arya says, “e-Yantra, a project born out of IIT-Bombay Computer Science teaching practice, uses a homegrown robot to train students and teachers in “Project-based Learning.” It enthuses students through a National e-Yantra Robotics Competition(eYRC) which has been growing exponentially over the past 3 years.”The current edition of the competition, eYRC-2015, will be launched on August 1, 2015. It also grows an eco-system by setting up infrastructure and training teachers in colleges through the e-Yantra Lab Setup Initiative (eLSI).”
The NPTEL initiative provides e-learning through online web and video courses in Engineering, Science and humanities streams. The mission of the program is to enhance the quality of Engineering education in the country by providing free online courses. These courses are free to download. They are also available on YouTube along with a 3GP format for mobiles. Also, a few add-ons include video clipping, assignments and problems to solve as well.
Some of the subjects included are aerospace engineering, environmental science,  chemistry and biochemistry, engineering design, metallurgy and material science, ocean engineering, civil engineering and more.
6. D’source (e-Kalpa)
Digital Learning Environment for Design in India, also known as ‘e-kalpa’ is sponsored by the Ministry of Human Resources and Development, Government of India as a part of the National Mission in Education through Information and Communication Technology. The main intention of this project is the creation of new learning environments, that will provide access to acquisition of critical knowledge, skills, and abilities in the field of design.
The overall objective of this project is the creation and development of new learning environments, related to design that will provide greater access and enhancement to acquisition of critical knowledge, skills and abilities for economic and social development in our country.
The CDEEP initiative is trying to expand a users reach, so that engineering and science students in every part of India and the world can have access to IIT Bombay’s courseware. These distance learning courses offered are the very same ones, that are taken by the students. To reach as many learners as possible, CDEEP is using different mediums and various technologies.
IIT Bombay, FOSSEE have taken up the initiative of promoting FOSS ( Free and Open Source Software), for education. The CFD team at FOSEE, IIT Bombay promotes the use of OpenFOAM (Open source Field Operation and Manipulation) as being popular along with, easily available. OpenFOAM can also be widely used in Engineering colleges across India, as a replacement for commercial packages like Fluent and Star CCM.
OpenFOAM has a very large database paired with a range of features to solve anything from complex fluid flows involving chemical reactions, turbulence and heat transfer, to solid dynamics and electromagnetics. FOSSEE team organises and conducts workshops, conferences and seminars to educate the users across India.
9. Spoken Tutorial 
The Spoken Tutorial project is the initiative of the ‘Talk to a Teacher’ activity of the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (ICT), launched by the Ministry of Human Resources and Development, Government of India. As learning is more effective with animation and narration, audio-video demonstrations illustrate features with clarity.
The Spoken Tutorial Project aims to make spoken tutorials on FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) available in several Indian languages, for the learner to be able to learn in the language he/she is comfortable in. The target group is the community at large, including school children, college students, working professionals, retired professionals, housewives, teachers, trainers, research scholars, software users and developers.
10. TREELabs
Treelabs started as a concept in March 2009. The main aim of TREELabs is to create a lab, that can sustain and grow on its own, and with the focus to nurture inventions. It believes that inventing is step by step algorithmic process which can be taught.
TreeLabs creates inventions internally and also attracts participation by external inventors and entrepreneurs too. TREELabs has initiated in solar thermal energy collection, electrical power measurement, queue management system along with networked programmable modular instruments as well