Thursday, June 17, 2004

Higher education online

I'm currently doing a post-grad course in business management from the hallowed portals of XLRI, Jamshedpur. This course is held simultaneously across over 30 centres through a satellite-based online delivery mechanism. The delivery mechanism is pioneered by Hughes Escorts Communications Limited under the brand name of DirecWay Global Education.

The mechanism works as follows:
Every center across the country (currently there are around 36 or so), has a few PCs that are connected by a broadband network with the HECL broadband connection. Every student attends the class on the PC. At the studio in the university campus, the prof's class is beamed to a satellite through VSAT terminals. HECL has 5 such studios in the universities from where it offers courses.

The benefits are:
Usually classes are held for around 6 hrs a week. These are 12-24 month programs and so best suited for working executives (it's another thing that only working executives can attend this).
Every course can accommodate around 150+ students. The density of students in these courses is increasing regularly. Currently, over a couple of thousand people have enrolled in the various courses offered by XLRI, IIM K, Narsee Monjee IMS, MAHE etc.
Only pedigree institutes offer such courses and so quality is a given!
Being the working executives that the students are, they can try out the management concepts directly at their workplace and validate them.

I find this course a 'kool' experience and an interesting value-add to my repertoire of knowledge.