The Mumbai University (MU) on Saturday inaugurated a virtual classroom at its Kalina campus and became the first public university in the country to introduce this facility.
Based on the virtual classroom model at Harvard University, the facility will be used to deliver and live-stream lectures, workshops and seminars through A-VIEW, a virtual learning tool developed by Amrita University.
The fully automated classroom, that can seat 58, will also be connected to an auditorium that can seat up to 300 students. Also, through the virtual classrooms, students sitting in any of the affiliated colleges across the country can participate in sessions held at the university. So far, 420 colleges have registered with the university to access sessions held in the facility, set up at a cost of over Rs1 crore.
“Any college that has the A-VIEW software, computers, cameras and a high bandwidth can enrol,” said Dr Rajan Welukar, MU vice-chancellor.
The classroom was inaugurated by Maharshtra governor K Sankaranarayanan and the ceremony was attended by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and minister of state for higher and technical education DP Sawant.
While asserting that the facility was indeed a step ahead, Chavan said that its real value addition would depend on how well it is utilised. “While we have tried to expand our reach to many, we seem to have not paid enough attention to the quality of the faculty.
We must ensure that faculty is well-trained in the new techniques,” he said, adding that the classroom should be open for 12-16 hours daily so students in night schools and colleges can avail the facility.