India’s School of Open Learning Using Flipped Classroom

India's School of Open Learning (SOL) located within Delhi University is planning to upgrade teaching methods and use "flipped classroom technology" to boost its personal contact program.

Teaching instruction at SOL is primarily based through printed materials given to students, which is supplemented through a personal contact program run through study centers around campus.

"The online admission process this year has garnered good response from students with more than 50% of the over one lakh (100,000) applicants choosing to register online.

We have already started issuing examination admit cards online. However, our teaching methodologies have been the same blackboard learning for decades," SOL Director C S Dubey said.

A ‘flipped classroom' runs the opposite of a traditional class. Through the technology, in-class lectures are turned into interactive videos made by the teacher and homework is done in class.

Right now, the school runs on the traditional blackboard learning system. The flipped technology would allow students to attend lectures based on their individual schedules.

SOL plans to have all their study materials available through an audio-video format this year to coincide with the introduction of more classroom technology.

"Since, all the students enrolled in SOL aren't tech savvy and some might not have access to Internet, in the initial years we will give the students an option to choose between hard copy or soft copy of the study material." Dubey said.

Computer coaching classes will also be available for those who do not have much experience with the Internet. Hard copy materials will be available for several years before the online switch fully takes over.

Also in the works are plans to create a ‘continuous assessment' model.

"Traditionally, students read the study material for an year and write exams. Today, we cant make our students employable with this methodology. Hence, we will introduce continuous assessment model with 30% weightage. This will be based on e-learning too," Dubey said.

Opponents to the electronic learning model include the School of Open Learning Teacher's Association and Delhi University Teacher's Association. The groups believe offering study materials on DVD rather than through textbooks is doing a disservice to students.

Dubey said an SMS survey was conducted with more than 84,000 participants on the subject. He claimed that 80,000 of those that completed the survey said they would rather study through an e-learning system than using a traditional model.

Offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in the Arts/Humanities and Commerce, SOL is the distance education wing of Delhi University, and enrolls more than 100,000 students each year.

India has the third-largest higher education system in the world behind only the US and China. A huge boom in higher education occurred in the country during the first decade of this century, with some 8 million students joining the system.

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